People trying to lose weight could be putting their lives at risk after a documentary exposed how private clinics are prescribing slimming injections without carrying out proper health checks.

In the Channel 4 programme The Truth About the ‘Skinny Jab‘, presenter Anna Richardson was offered the diabetes drug Ozempic by two out of three private London clinics.

She was even told by one, “I can inject you right now”, without BMI or health assessments being carried out.

The main ingredient of Ozempic, semaglutide, works by mimicking the hormone GLP-1, which tells the brain you are full up – also known as suppressing appetite.

The drug, which is the latest weapon in the battle against obesity, can help people lose around 12% of their body weight. Wegovy was recently approved for use by people with obesity or those who are overweight and have a health condition.

However, the popularity of these weight-loss drugs has led to a world-wide shortage of semaglutide and put pressure on supply, particularly for people with diabetes.

The Channel 4 show also exposed the dangers of online pharmacies, which were shown selling medication purporting to be the weight loss drug Saxenda without carrying out health safety checks.

Anna Richardson visited three private doctors after the government directed the NHS and private clinics to curb prescriptions for new patients.

During first appointment, no BMI or health checks were carried out and Anna was told the drug was “perfect” for someone like her.

She reported: “He said “the pharmacy won’t give it to you” because I asked for a prescription, but “it’s ok, I will order it for you now and it will be in, in about a week’s time”.”

At the second appointment, which again failed to include any health checks, Anna was told Ozempic was “absolutely right” for her.

She was even shown the needle and told: “You can start now, why don’t you want to start now? I can inject you now.”

At the third clinic Anna visited, she was told her BMI was not high enough to qualify for the jab but there was a suggestion as to where she might be able to get it.

The show also explored the dangers of online pharmacies, with Anna providing false information which led to her application for Saxenda being approved in minutes.

Anna said: “I find that really, really concerning. Everything’s fake and within three minutes, I’ve got a weight loss  pen, a Saxenda pen for £50. I could be anybody, I could be any age. This potentially is life-altering medication, prescription medication.”

Experts have warned against buying weight-loss drugs online following reports that those sold on the black market could contain dangerous substances.

As part of the documentary, Anna used an online pharmacy to order Ozempic. However, it arrived with no instructions on how to mix and use the drug, and testing by a team from the University of Oxford revealed the substance was not Ozempic.

Speaking as part of the documentary, pharmacist Reshma Patel said: “As a pharmacist, I have seen an increase in these jabs, especially over the last three months. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in private prescriptions coming through.

“But I have never in my 27 years as a pharmacist experienced this sort of hysteria about a medication.”

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