Leticia Carrillo says she’s tried just about everything to lose weight.
“I tried different diets. I get bored. I just get bored,” Carrillo said. She’s also had a tummy tuck, liposuction, and tried fasting.
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According to Carrillo, the pounds didn’t stay off until she was prescribed semiglutide, part of a class of medications that promote weight loss by decreasing appetite. Popular brands include Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro.
“My first week I did it, I lost eight pounds immediately,” Carrillo told NBC Chicago.
She got her medication from a nurse practitioner, but the demand for injectable weight loss drugs has already outpaced supply, and that means many people are going online.
Dr. Al Carter is the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. He says the NABP identifies more than four-hundred new illegal pharmacies operating online. And he says 95% of the pharmacies that are online are operating illegally.
“I would guess that probably 90% or 99% of the times you’re getting this medication and you’re getting it without prescription… It’s not truly that medication,” Dr. Carter said. And that’s what worries him the most.  

Remember, there’s a well-publicized shortage of at least two weight loss drugs. So while many online pharmacies claim to offer FDA approved medications for weight loss, Dr. Carter said they really may be selling compounded versions of the medication, which are not FDA approved.
“You don’t know how this drug is compounded. There are specific requirements from both federal and state requirements when it comes to compounding medications and in in a sterile environment to make sure there’s no impurities,” Carter said.
In 2012, a New England compounding pharmacy caused a meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and severely injured nearly eight-hundred more victims across the country. Authorities found steroid medications made in the lab were contaminated.
Dr. Carter says the same concerns apply to medspas and hydration clinics that offer IV therapy.
Influencer Bea Amma was hospitalized with a severe bacterial infection after getting a mix of vitamin and fat burning shots at a California medspa back in 2021.
“The injection sites turned into these hard little balls,” Amma said.
In July 2023, a Texas woman died while getting a concentrated electrolyte infusion at a Texas medspa. According to reporting by NBC News, an autopsy could not determine that the IV therapy caused her death.
The Texas Medical Board suspended the medical director’s license for failing to properly supervise an unlicensed individual performing IV treatments.