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Ozempic: antidiabetic drug turned into weight loss product, temporarily intended for patients already undergoing treatment

Danish laboratory Novo Nordisk recommended on Wednesday that health workers in France only prescribe the antidiabetes drug Ozempic to patients already being treated, to ensure continuity of treatment as global demand surges.

The laboratory decided to “reserve, during this difficult period, when we cannot yet meet the demand due to its large size, medicines available to patients who are already under treatment.” Hence the desire to temporarily no longer start new treatment,” the representative said.

The Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) for its part warned that supply pressures for Ozempic (0.25 mg starting dose) were “expected throughout 2024.”

Great success on social networks

The drug is very popular on social media for its weight-loss properties, which has led to shortages of its supply, especially in Australia. It belongs to a family of drugs similar to GLP-1, a gut hormone that secretes insulin and sends a satiety signal to the brain.

“We are facing unprecedented demand in the life of the company,” the spokesman insisted, repeating that no one could have foreseen such enthusiasm. “Is this abuse or not? “, asks the press secretary, limiting himself to stating “a significant increase in the number of prescriptions.”

“Once the laboratory has restored sufficient supply, we will be able to resume treatment,” said Dr. Isabelle Yoljian, ANSM medical director.

At the same time, Novo Nordisk decided to limit production of Victoza, a first-generation GLP-1 analogue that is less in demand than the second generation, which includes Ozempic. The arbitration was undertaken “to improve Ozempic’s position,” the spokesperson explained.

According to ANSM, Victoza supplies “will be reduced in the city until at least the end of Q2 2024.” The laboratory has increased its investment announcements at all of its main production sites in recent months, including a two-billion-euro facility in Chartres, but the impact will not be immediate.

Source: Le Parisien

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