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Unpacking the Ozempic Craze

Navigating the complex health and societal issues around the rising popularity of the antidiabetic medication.

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Much of the coverage of Ozempic—the injectable medication also known as Semaglutide—revolves around celebrities. Who’s definitely taking it, who’s probably taking it, and who’s denied taking it. Who gets left out: people with type 2 diabetes dealing with shortages because their medication has become a viral weight loss drug. It’s a problematic place to start a conversation already filled with so many potential minefields: Who “gets” access to a drug that costs around $1,000 a week—and has only been FDA approved for a certain portion of the population? How can doctors safely monitor for side effects when it is regularly prescribed off label—and even more worryingly, knocked off by compounding pharmacies? And how does a “get thin quick!” drug affect an already diet-crazed society, one with an anti-fat bias so entrenched that people who look overweight face stigmas and hurdles everywhere from courtrooms to the Jeopordy stage? Especially when we consider, as writer Marquisele Mercedes does, the more sinister implications of a pharmaceutical corporation profiting from that society’s fear of fat.

The stories below put faces and facts to these concerns, painting a fuller picture of how this recently approved drug has lasting effects—and not only on the people who take it.

Images by Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

Weight Loss Drugs Aren’t A Quick Fix

Evette Dionne
BuzzFeed News

The popularity of drugs like Ozempic and a new pediatric recommendation that encourages fat teens to get weight-loss surgery show we still view fatness as a moral flaw that needs extreme intervention.

Twitter Thread by @hels

Helen Rosner

My only take on ozempic/weight loss “shortcuts” is that if you think fat people should be thin, but you also think we need to “earn” thinness through torturous food restriction, social frustration, & ED-like obsession, you just (still) want to punish fat people for being fat