Three weightloss telehealth companies are spending heavily to target Meta users with predatory ads selling prescriptions for bogus “generic” alternatives to popular weight loss drugs Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro — despite the fact that generics of those medications do not currently exist.
NBC first reported on the surge of Ozempic-style drug ads running on Instagram and Facebook in June, and a Media Matters review found that the problem is still widespread.
Meta’s advertising standards explicitly prohibit the promotion of products via “deceptive or misleading practices,” a policy that all three companies found in our review appear to be violating.
In late 2022, Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro went viral as celebrity weight loss drugs, sparking demand for the medications that manufacturers couldn’t match and resulting in a global shortage. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to consumers in May about the dangers of unregulated products being fraudulently marketed as “generic” Ozempic and Wegovy. Similarly, there is no equivalent version of Mounjaro — another popular weight loss medication.
Companies claiming to prescribe a generic or therapeutic equivalent alternative of those medications are intentionally misrepresenting their products to consumers in order to cash in on the opportunity presented by the shortage.
A Media Matters review found at least three weightloss telehealth companies — Found Health, MD Exam, and Goglia Nutrition (G-Plans) — are paying for deceptive ads on Meta selling “generic” or alternative options to the aforementioned medications. According to a Media Matters analysis of advertising data estimates from Sensor Tower, two of the companies alone have spent more than $6.2 million on Meta ads, garnering at least 929 million impressions. (In addition to the shady Ozempic alternatives, the companies also advertise for generic alternatives to a variety of other weight loss products.)
MD Exam is running ads on Meta claiming to prescribe a “generic” version of Ozempic: “Ozempic is a ‘miracle-drug’ for many patients, but it can be hard to find in stores or get affordable refills. MD Exam offers the generic at a fraction of the cost.”
G-Plans’ Meta ads use phrases like “get generic Ozempic for cheap online” and “get generic Mounjaro shipped right to your door.”