Pre-filled pens falsely labelled as Ozempic have been identified in the UK supply chain, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed.

The pens were identified before reaching UK patients, and all affected pens have now been recalled and accounted for, the MHRA said.

The products were imported from legitimate suppliers in Austria and Germany, and have authentic German packaging, but the pens themselves look substantially different to legitimate Ozempic syringes, as shown in photographs published by German authorities.

And the MHRA said that it was ‘working closely’ with its international regulatory partners to ‘continue to maintain the security of the wider supply chain, both at home and abroad’.

Dr Alison Cave, chief safety officer at the MHRA, reassured patients that medicines accessed through legitimate sources were genuine.

‘We work closely with global regulatory partners to ensure that the medicines supply chain in the UK is kept secure, to keep patients safe,’ she said.

But she warned: ‘Buying semaglutide from illegally trading online suppliers significantly increases the risk of getting a product which is either falsified or not licensed for use in the UK.’

She added that products purchased in this way do not meet the MHRA’s ‘strict quality and safety standards’, and may put patients’ health at risk.

And she reiterated that patients should report any adverse side effects, or any concerns about the safety, effectiveness or legitimacy of a medicinal product, to the Yellow Card scheme.

Shortages of GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide are expected to continue for at least the next year, with pharmacists, GPs, government and patient groups raising concerns that an increase in off-license demand for weight loss was putting supply at risk for patients with diabetes.