The allure of Ozempic, a drug known for its weight-loss effects, has captured Greece, sparking a surge in demand.

What was once a medication primarily prescribed to diabetics is now sought after by those aiming to shed pounds, even without a prescription.

According to reports, Greece has witnessed a doubling in the import of Ozempic by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk since last year.

The surge in demand is not limited to locals; foreigners are also flocking to Greek pharmacies to purchase Ozempic from Greece at a lower cost compared to other countries.

Chrysanthi Sardeli, an associate professor of medicine at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, highlighted the lax enforcement of prescription drug laws in Greece, making it easier for individuals to obtain Ozempic without a prescription.

“In Greece, you can walk into a pharmacy and pay for it out of your pocket, with or without a prescription. Most pharmacies have it, because the current laws on prescription drugs are not fully implemented,” Sardeli told Kathimerini.

Despite its popularity as a weight-loss aid, concerns remain regarding the long-term effects of Ozempic.

While it was initially developed as an anti-diabetic drug, its appetite-suppressing properties have led to its off-label use for weight loss. Experts caution against its use without medical supervision.

Giorgos Chrousos, head of the Endocrinology Unit at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, pointed out the limited options for treating obesity.

“Ozempic may have started as an anti-diabetic drug, but it seems that it will take on other indications as well, not just for obesity,” Chrousos said adding that for severely obese individuals, Ozempic or surgery may be the only viable solutions for significant weight loss.