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TikTok Influencer Accused of Peddling Mislabeled Ozempic, Other Weight Loss Drugs on Social Media

TikTok Star Accused of Peddling Counterfeit Ozempic and Other Drugs
Source: U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York

Beraly Navarro was using her platform to tell her experiences with the weight loss drugs and then sell them illegally to her followers, officials said.

May 4 2024, Published 11:03 a.m. ET

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A New York woman was arrested for allegedly smuggling misbranded weight loss drugs including Ozempic into the U.S. and selling them to her followers on social media.

Isis Navarro Reyes, a.k.a. Beraly Navarro, was arrested on May 1 and charged with receipt of misbranded drugs in interstate commerce, dispensing misbranded drugs while held for sale, conspiracy to introduce and deliver for introduction misbranded drugs in interstate commerce, dispensing of misbranded drugs while held for sale, and smuggling, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

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"As alleged, Isis Navarro Reyes used her social media following to sell weight loss drugs unapproved for distribution in the United States. Reyes’s alleged unlawful dispensing of these drugs caused significant, life-threatening injuries to some victims and put all of her victims in harm’s way," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

From November 2022 to November 2023, Reyes allegedly posted dozens of TikTok videos about weight loss drugs including Ozempic, Axcion and Mesotherapy. In the videos, Reyes instructs viewers on how to use the injectable drugs, how often to use them and shares what she said are her personal experiences with effectiveness and side effects.

In several of the videos, Reyes tells viewers to contact her via an encrypted messaging application to purchase the drugs from her.

An individual identified as Victim 1 in court documents purchased 30 injections of Mesofrance, an injectable weight loss drug, from Reyes. The victim did not provide a prescription, and Reyes did not ask for one. The drugs that were sent were labeled in languages other than English, in violation of U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.

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Between February and June 2023, the victim self-administered 28 injections. Around July 13, 2023, the victim began developing lesions from the Mesofrance, and messaged Reyes with photos of the lesions. In October, the victim's doctor diagnosed her with a mycobacterium abscessus infection, which is often caused by the contamination of medications, medical products and medical devices.

In November 2023, the New York Department of Health tested one of the vials the victim purchased from Reyes, and it tested positive for mycobacterium abscessus, a species of rapidly growing, multidrug-resistant mycobacteria.

New York

From December 2023 to January 2024, an undercover law enforcement officer began messaging Reyes about purchasing Ozempic. The undercover officer sent $375 to a Zelle account under the name Isis Reyes Navarro, and received a package of purported Ozempic Reyes allegedly shipped from a post office in or around Shirley, N.Y.

The purported Ozempic was labeled in Spanish, in violation of FDA regulations.

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"Recently, public interest in semaglutide and weight loss drugs has skyrocketed, and criminals have sought to take advantage of this interest for their ends. With this, the first misbranding and adulteration charges brought pertaining to semaglutide, Reyes will be held accountable for her conduct, and criminals should think twice before trying to sell weight loss drugs without a license to do so. This case makes clear that extreme caution and physician consultation should always be taken when purchasing medications, especially on social media," Williams said.

Reyes, 36, faces up to 20 years in prison for the smuggling count, while the other five counts each carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

TMX contributed to this report.


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