Every Week, 25,000 New People Start This Weight Loss Drug

As Novo Nordisk works to increase supply amid shortages of weight loss drug Wegovy, at least 25,000 new people are starting the GLP-1 drug each week.

Wegovy — the semaglutide-containing drug that’s approved for chronic weight management and heart disease in those with obesity — is in high demand, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

Drugmaker Novo Nordisk announced this week that it’s working hard to increase its manufacturing capacity and supply, as at least 25,000 new patients are starting the drug in the United States every week.

The company said it has made progress in building manufacturing capacity, and its plan to gradually and continuously increase shipments of the three lowest dose strengths of Wegovy is working.

New patients who start Wegovy must begin with a lower dosage of the drug before gradually increasing to higher doses, and it’s the three lowest doses (0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg) that have seen shortages as thousands of new patients are prescribed the medication each week.

“While we will do our best to support those who want to start taking Wegovy, it is important to recognize that overall demand will continue to exceed supply and some patients may still have difficulty filling Wegovy prescriptions,” the company said in a news release. “We recommend that those who experience challenges filling their prescriptions speak with their healthcare professional about the best approach to their treatment, so this does not halt their pursuit of obesity care.”

Novo Nordisk said it will continue to monitor the market closely, adding that its manufacturing lines are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in an attempt to produce more of the sought-after drug.

For patients taking the drug, the company recommends contacting your pharmacy for refills far in advance to avoid any issues. It also suggests being specific about the dose strength you need in case the pharmacy needs to order the prescription you are trying to fill.

Novo Nordisk said it has been and will continue to intentionally limit quantities of the lower dose strengths to U.S. wholesalers for distribution to retail pharmacies “in an effort to support continuity of care for existing patients.”

If you find yourself unable to find the specific dose you need, the company advises that you try other local pharmacies and, if unsuccessful, speak with your healthcare professional about your treatment plan to discuss your options and determine the best course of action.

“Healthcare professionals know their patients' past and current medical history and are best equipped to make clinical recommendations,” the company said.

In its announcement, the company reaffirmed that Wegovy should only be prescribed by licensed healthcare professionals for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with weight-related medical problems and for adults living with obesity and known heart disease.

Novo Nordisk also produces Ozempic, which is a semaglutide-based drug that is approved to treat type 2 diabetes. Other semaglutide products, including Eli Lilly’s Zepbound, have also faced shortages amid soaring demand.


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