Published on March 28, 2023 at 1:11 p.m.
Diabetes drugs are regularly diverted from their traditional use on TikTok by careless influencers. On their social networks, these content creators tell the story of their weight loss treatment thanks to these treatments, normally reserved for diabetics, which they present as “miracle products”, including Ozempic or glucose sensors. . Faced with the seriousness of the situation, the French Federation of Diabetics denounces this “entertainment use” of treatments and devices which are not without health consequences.
>> Read also: “All bitten by Ozempic to lose weight? A disturbing phenomenon »
The patient association requests in particular the suspension of the accounts of the influencers concerned. In the most serious cases, it requires “systematic prosecution for illegal medical or pharmaceutical practice”. In the press release that “ELLE” was able to consult, the French Federation of Diabetics pleads for a framework for influencers on health issues. A request which comes as the recent bill on the regulation of the field of commercial influence is examined from this Tuesday, March 28, in the National Assembly.
A very real but still discreet phenomenon in France
The Federation thus denounces the promotion by influencers of “miracle cures for diabetes, anti-diabetic treatments for weight loss or even medical devices for ‘Lifestyle’ use”.
Public figures tell the story of their “weight loss journey” thanks to this drug without necessarily having diabetes. A worrying phenomenon apparently massive among American influencers which is also beginning to spread in France.
Alerts on misuse of Ozempic and glucose sensors
Ever since the ANSM and L’Assurance Maladie drew attention to the problematic use of an anti-diabetic drug like Ozempic, the harmful influence of these Internet figures has been worrying. The two health authorities recalled in particular that Ozempic, for example, “must be reserved for the treatment of insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes”.
The consequences of these promotions on social networks are also worrying. “Reports from the field including a report of misuse in non-diabetic people with the aim of weight loss”, alerted the two public establishments in their joint press release.
Ozempic is not a drug that can be taken casually. Adverse effects may be observed in the patient, starting with gastrointestinal disorders, pancreatitis or hypoglycaemia.
Beyond the health risks, the ANSM and the Health Insurance also underlined the direct impact on the availability of these products for diabetic patients. In fact, the trivialization of these health products could “accelerate supply tensions depriving people in need of this essential treatment”.
For its part, the FFD also points the finger at influencers who highlight products such as glucose sensors which are also part of the life of a diabetic person. The device in question makes it possible to measure the level of glucose in the blood in real time to avoid having to prick your fingers. “Diabetes is an important and constrained disease”, reminds the vice-president of the association to our colleagues from “BFM”.
An in-depth study of the framework proposed for health products
Among the objectives of the FFD, deepen the measures recommended in the bill carried by the deputies Stéphane Vojetta and Arthur Delaporte, respectively from the Renaissance group and Nupes. A law which aims to define the status of the influencer and legally regulate his paid partnerships. In the field of health, the Ministry of the Economy pleads for the application of the rules in force for advertising and the media to actors of influence. This would concern content highlighting tobacco, alcohol, but also health acts.
In the press release, the members of the association ask that “specify the framework applicable to information and communication relating to health products”. Videos promoting these products are not always sponsored. According to figures from Public Health France, diabetes today affects more than 3.6 million people in France.