The Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons has suspended a doctor it says was responsible for thousands of prescriptions for the diabetes and weight-loss drug.that were mailed to Americans by two British Columbia pharmacies.
Dr. Gus Grant, registrar and chief executive of the university, said Thursday the regulator first heard about the Nova Scotia-licensed doctor from media coverage of BC’s recent move to restrict access to the drug. for non-residents.
Grant’s statement identifies the doctor, whose university registration information says he practices family medicine in Odessa, Texas, and graduated from Dalhousie University in 1977.
BC wants federal ban on weight and diabetes, drug Ozempic exported to US
The Canadian Press is not naming the doctor, who did not respond to requests for comment or after-hours phone calls.
BC Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the restriction last month after revealing that just one doctor had been behind thousands of Ozempic prescriptions that were shipped across the border.
Grant said the University of Nova Scotia also heard “serious concerns” from the BC College of Pharmacists about the doctor, who lives in the US but is licensed in Nova Scotia as a non-resident, although he has not practiced medicine there.” for many years”. .”
He said the BC College of Pharmacists wrote in a letter that the two pharmacies had filled more than 17,000 prescriptions for semaglutide, the unbranded/medical name of the active ingredient in Ozempic, from December 2022 to February 2023.
Grant said the university has now suspended the doctor’s license on an “interim” basis and launched a full investigation, calling it a “serious matter.”
“Based on volume alone, the prescription does not meet the standards of the profession,” Grant said in a statement. “I cannot see how the volume of prescription drugs could be supported by proper medical evaluation and judgment. At first glance, the prescription seems incompetent.
Grant said it is incumbent on licensed physicians in Nova Scotia to maintain proper prescribing practices “whether care is provided in person or through virtual medicine.”
Last week, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the province was moving to restrict access to Ozempic, saying a massive advertising campaign coupled with social media advertising had fueled demand for the drug.
Health matters: BC limits access to Ozempic to Canadians only
Ozempic, which is used to treat diabetes, is increasingly sought after by those wanting to lose weight, one of the drug’s “off-label” uses.
Dix said only a small percentage of prescriptions in BC are typically filled for non-residents, but fears of shortages in the province were heightened when more than 15 percent of Ozempic prescriptions were found to cross the border. .
He said he wanted a federal government review under the Food and Drug Act because of the “unacceptable situation” surrounding Ozempic prescriptions written by an out-of-province doctor and filled by two anonymous Metro Vancouver pharmacies.
Americans have long sought cheaper access to Canadian prescription drugs, and Ozempic as a weight loss treatment from Canadian providers remains cheaper than in the US.
“We would never have enough Ozempic supply in British Columbia to meet the needs of the US market,” Dix said in late March.
© 2023 The Canadian Press