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Ozempic, Wegovy drug prescriptions hit 9 million

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, Wegs and comparable diabetes and obesity drugs over the past three months of 2022, in keeping 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 yr.

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

The info additional confirms the rise in demand for that group of medicine, which have fueled a frenzy amongst Individuals and on Wall Road for his or her potential to trigger important weight reduction. These remedies, referred to 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 rely upon whether or not producers of these medicine, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lillycan resolve widespread provide shortages affecting most of their remedies within the U.S., amongst different elements, in keeping with the report.

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

However the complete 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 individuals, resembling Hollywood celebrities and billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk, are rich sufficient to pay for the medicine themselves.

Ozempic’s listing worth tops $935 per month-to-month bundle, 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 should be taken for all times.

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

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

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