So many Americans are using Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster weight loss-aiding Ozempic that Germany may ban exports of the drug

William of England
By William of England 5 Min Read

Now, Germany is contemplating becoming a member of a rising record of nations banning Ozempic’s export to shore up its personal provide of the drug, as a scarcity threatens the well being of producer Novo Nordisk’s diabetic prospects.

Speaking to Der Spiegel journal, Karl Broich, president of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, stated some of the nation’s provide of medication, which are cheaper in Germany, have been being shipped to different EU nations and the U.S.

However, situations the place it’s getting used to assist weight loss are now beginning to influence its availability for these diabetic prospects who are extra reliant on the drug, forcing it to think about a ban.

“We need the drug for the care of diabetes patients and not as a lifestyle drug,” Broich instructed Der Spiegel. “You can see that things are being advertised on social media that are not at all in our interest.” 

Ozempic’s transformation

Ozempic was initially marketed by Novo Nordisk as a GLP-1 drug for sufferers affected by kind 2 diabetes, nevertheless it was later discovered to assist weight loss. Wegovy, straight marketed by Novo Nordisk as a weight-loss medicine, was confirmed to cut back sufferers’ weight by 15% inside 16 months. 

It was additionally discovered to chop heart-related deaths by 20%, in accordance with a research in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Novo Nordisk’s medication have since develop into vastly common in the U.S., with North America accounting for 95% of Wegovy gross sales in the third quarter of 2023. 

That demand has caught producers, who had been manufacturing for a beforehand small buyer base, off guard.

Novo CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen stated gross sales of Wegovy, which hit $900 million in the final quarter, would have been greater have been it not for shortages of the drug, which prices uninsured sufferers $1,349 per thirty days.

As a end result, diabetic sufferers are observing dwindling provides of GLP-1 medication that was once in healtjhy provide. Campaigners, together with Diabetes U.K., have now urged clinicians solely to prescribe the medication to sufferers residing with kind 2 diabetes till provide shortages are mounted.

According to Novo’s Jørgensen, these shortages will possible stretch into 2024 in the U.S.

“I just have to acknowledge that the demand is so strong that despite the fact that we are ramping up manufacturing and producing more and more, there will be times where patients rush at the same time to the same pharmacies and there’ll be shortages,” Jørgensen instructed Reuters in August.

Last week, Novo stated it planned to invest 42 billion kroner ($3.8 billion) to increase its manufacturing services at its Danish web site of Kalundborg to assist it proceed to develop right into a market that might attain $100 billion by 2035.

European nations clamping down

If Germany bans exports of Ozempic, it is going to proceed a brand new pattern of rationing the weight loss-aiding drug throughout Europe.

There are already a number of nations throughout the continent that have banned the export of Ozempic, together with Austria and France, Reuters reported, citing Affordable Medicines knowledge. The publication reported that different nations, together with Portugal and Spain, have guidelines that make exporting the drug extraordinarily tough.

On Tuesday, Belgium moved to ban the prescription of Ozempic for weight loss till subsequent summer time, the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products said in a statement, as the nation fights its personal provide scarcity.

Novo Nordisk has already moved to reduce the strength of dosage of its GLP-1 medication so it will possibly ramp up shipments.  

“We understand how frustrating this situation is for the communities we serve and appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to navigate significant demand for Wegovy,” the firm says on its web site. 

“Please know our commitment to the obesity community is a long-term one and we are investing significantly to build capacity to meet this increasing demand.”

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