A Melb Company Thought It Was A Good Idea To Suggest Staff Try Ozempic For ‘Weight Management’

CONTENT WARNING: This article mentions disordered eating.

A Melbourne-based digital marketing agency (it’s always the damn marketing agencies) has abandoned all sense of self-awareness and openly offered to pay for Ozempic prescriptions in a company-wide email to staff about “weight management”.

Conversion Digital sent an email to staff about its “new employee benefits”, which were designed to promote “health and well-being”.

“As pioneers in the AI realm, we wield Australia’s most advanced chatbot, a testament to our relentless pursuit of innovation, dedication and hardwork,” the email read, per a screenshot obtained by news.com.au.

“Our global footprint and international team have opened our eyes to the revolutions happening around the world.

“Case en point: the revolutionary weight loss drug sweeping across Europe. It’s a game-changer parallel to AI, another seismic shift in the landscape.”

The email, after stating the staff are “trailblazers” who “lead the pack”, announced it was going to honour its ongoing commitment to “health and wellbeing” by spotlighting the issue of “weight management”.

After a spiel on how important weight management is to a long and healthy life, the email then read: “Below are two options that might pique your interest. These are uncharted territories, and while we aren’t medical professionals, we can share the impact we’ve observed overseas.”

What did it list, you might wonder? Yep, a link out to Ozempic, a drug used to manage type 2 diabetes which it said “could also induce weight loss in some individuals”, and a link to Wegovy, a prescription appetite suppressant that is literally not approved for use in Australia.

The email then stated that if any staff wanted to start taking these medications for weight loss, it would foot the bill. No, it did not list side effects of these medications.

Even now, the company is yet to see why this is messed up — general manager Sylvia Tiet told news.com.au the feedback had been “overwhelmingly positive” and that someone had even tried to secure a prescription for their dog.

Yeah, pretty fkn concerning when you actually look into the implications of this email.

For starters, assuming weight management is necessary for your health and wellbeing — even weight management that is obtained through just… not eating (Wegovy literally works by tricking your body into not being hungry so you don’t eat) — not only leans into decades of medical fatphobia, but the starvation methods we associate with eating disorders, too.

Plenty of people who are “overweight” live long, healthy lives where they eat balanced meals and exercise daily, because bodies are diverse in the way they look, how they metabolise, and what they need.

While sometimes it may be healthy for people’s lifestyles to lose weight, suggesting they do so via an appetite suppressant instead of a tailor-made, doctor-approved regimen of healthy meals and/or exercise is at best irresponsible and at worst dangerous.

Let’s also consider the fact that Wegovy cannot be legally prescribed for weight loss in Australia, and the TGA had advised pharmacists and doctors not to prescribe Ozempic to patients who don’t have diabetes.

Furthermore, the weight loss craze associated with Ozempic caused a national shortage earlier this year that threatened the health and wellbeing of people who *actually* need the drug to manage their diabetes.

A company benefit should be something like covering dental, or a company bonus. It should NOT involve policing your weight.

Image: iStock / Fotolia