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Ozempic, Wegovy drug prescriptions hit 9 million, surge 300% in beneath three years

A pharmacist shows containers of Ozempic, a semaglutide injection drug used for treating sort 2 diabetes made by Novo Nordisk, at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S. March 29, 2023. 

George Frey | Reuters

U.S. well being care suppliers wrote greater than nine million prescriptions for Ozempic, Wegovy and comparable diabetes and obesity drugs over the last three months of 2022, in accordance with a brand new analysis launched Wednesday.

The report, from analytics agency Trilliant Well being, reveals that quarterly prescriptions for these medicine elevated 300% between early 2020 and the top of final 12 months.

Novo Nordisk‘s weekly diabetes injection Ozempic accounted for greater than 65% of whole prescriptions as of the top of 2022, and was primarily prescribed off-label for its skill to assist sufferers shed pounds. 

The information additional confirms the rise in demand for that group of medication, which have fueled a frenzy amongst People and on Wall Road for his or her skill to trigger important weight reduction. These remedies, generally known as GLP-1s, mimic a hormone within the intestine to suppress an individual’s urge for food. 

However the charge of future prescription volumes will largely depend upon whether or not producers of these medicine, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, can resolve widespread provide shortages affecting most of their remedies within the U.S., amongst different elements, in accordance with the report.

The evaluation relies on insurance coverage claims information for about 300 million People. Among the many different medicine prescribed are Eli Lilly’s diabetes drug Mounjaro and an older GLP-1 drug from Novo Nordisk referred to as Saxenda, which is not as efficient for weight reduction as Ozempic and Wegovy.

However the whole variety of GLP-1 prescriptions is probably going an undercount since some well being plans do not cowl weight reduction remedies like Wegovy, leaving some sufferers to pay for them out of pocket. 

Some folks, reminiscent of Hollywood celebrities and billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk, are rich sufficient to pay for the medicine themselves. 

Ozempic’s checklist value tops $935 per month-to-month package deal, and its weight reduction counterpart Wegovy is about $1,300. The medicine are supposed to be taken indefinitely to maintain weight off, similar to cholesterol-lowering medicine or blood strain medicines that need to be taken for all times. 

Different drugmakers are jockeying to capitalize on the budding weight reduction business. And analysts say Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro has the potential to overhaul medicine from Novo Nordisk after its authorised within the U.S. for weight reduction. 

Greater than two in 5 adults have weight problems, in accordance with the National Institutes of Health. About 1 in 11 adults have extreme weight problems.

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