On Monday, pharmaceutical powerhouse Novo Nordisk announced that it will have a "controlled and limited launch" of the popular weight-loss drug Wegovy in the UK. With increased demand being overshadowed by a supply shortage, no date for availability was given.
On Monday, pharmaceutical powerhouse Novo Nordisk announced that it will have a "controlled and limited launch" of the popular weight-loss drug Wegovy in the UK. With increased demand being overshadowed by a supply shortage, no date for availability was given.1
Wegovy, also called semaglutide, was given approval by the National Institute for Care and Excellence early in 2023. The drug will be prescribed to patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater or patients with a BMI of at least 27 and an obesity-related co-morbidity. The treatment is recommended to last no more than two years.2
Once launched in the US, the drug's social media presence took off at the hands of celebrities and influencers increasing the demand. In addition to the US, the drug has been launched in Denmark, Norway, and Germany.3
The announcement comes after reports surfaced of drug shortages in Germany, Europe's largest drug market, merely one month after its launch. In response, the pharmaceutical company said it's monitoring the drug's supply and working with regulators.4
In the US, Wegovy has a price tag of $1,350 per month. In Europe, the drug ranges from $190-330 (€176-305 per month). In the UK, the Institute has described the deal as a "cost-effective use" of resources that, in the private market, will be priced by licensed prescribers.5
With unstable availability, the National Health Service announced that while around 50K patients will be eligible for the drug, through the weight management services it will begin distribution while prioritizing patients who suffer from other conditions in addition to obesity such as type 2 diabetes.6
Narrative A, as provided by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. With the number of prescriptions for Wegovy increasing, it's critical that patients fully understand the risk. Beyond nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, inflammation in the pancreas, and gallbladder disease, the drug can also cause harm to women who are pregnant or become pregnant while taking the injections. Instead of paying the exorbitant costs for the medication, overweight patients should focus on a healthier diet that comes with no side effects and the added benefit of cheaper costs — and lower cancer risks.
Narrative B, as provided by Independent. Obesity is a life-changing condition that puts a heavy burden on the UK's health system. Wegovy and similar drugs are game-changers that when applied with other methods like a healthy diet can reduce the dangers of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. With a reduction in diseases and symptoms, by default, the pressure is reduced on hospitals, drug supplies, insurers, and providers. This investment will not only save lives but also improve waiting lists and increase the speed of medical care for other life-threatening conditions.