May 27, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Obesity drug is sorely lacking

Demand for an anti-obesity drug in America is skyrocketing. Scientists continue to study the “point in the brain” that controls weight and appetite.

Alas, even a fourfold increase in the capacity of the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk does not allow it to cover the global demand for semaglutide, a drug prescribed for both diabetes and weight loss.

An antidiabetic drug is in global shortage. This is a fact that has recently been observed in Greece, while indications for obesity have been approved in only three countries, including the United States. The drug is available in a higher dosage when used against obesity and under a different brand name.

The failure to meet international demand for semaglutide prompted Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen to announce delaying the launch of Wegovy (semaglutide against obesity) in Europenoting that “in the short term, we will face a problem because we cannot fully meet the demand,” and assured: “We strive to ensure that patients receive the medicine they are waiting for on time.”

The delay in the supply of the drug will be even more felt in developing countries, where the infrastructure does not allow the safe transport of the drug, which requires refrigerators (drug packages must be stored at low temperatures).

Launched in 2021, semaglutide branded as Wegovy has propelled pioneering company Novo Nordisk to record sales.

One injection per week can cause obese patients to lose 15% of their weight with minimal effort – moderate eating and walking (light exercise).

But as patients who have stopped taking the drug regain their lost weight, Danish pharmaceutical executives have announced that their research is now focused on finding the part of the brain responsible for maintaining weight.

Martin Lang, head of research and development, said that “it is still necessary to find out what exactly in the brain controls body weight and appetite.”

Camilla Sylvest, vice president of commercial strategy and corporate affairs, said the company has begun discussions with various state governments for reimbursement for the anti-obesity drug, resulting in 14 U.S. states also offering Wegovy through Medicare, and another 14 countries offering reimbursed liraglutide ( Saxenda) in a dose for weight loss.

According to the company, 800 million people are obese and 500 million people have diabetes.

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