25K Americans starting Wegovy weekly as supply increases and prices drop, drugmaker says

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At least 25,000 Americans are beginning treatment with Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy each week and that figure is growing, the company said.

The Danish pharmaceutical giant, which has been ramping up production capacity to meet demand, told FOX Business that there are currently “four times” the number of U.S. patients starting the medication compared with December 2023.

Over the past year, Novo said it’s been managing shipments of Wegovy “in an effort to support continuity of care for existing patients” while working to increase production capacity. It has been able to gradually increase shipments of the three lowest dose strengths.

ELI LILLY’S CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO RESOLVE WEIGHT-LOSS DRUG MISCONCEPTIONS

Wegovy was approved by the FDA for chronic weight management in 2021, and most recently as a heart disease prevention medication.

While Ozempic, which has the same active ingredient, semaglutide, was approved about seven years ago for those with Type 2 diabetes with weight loss as a side effect. 

The company is facing stiff competition from rival Eli Lilly, which manufactures the drug tripeptide and sells it under brand names Zepbound and Mounjaro. Mounjaro was approved to treat Type 2 diabetes in 2022, while Zepbound was approved last year for treatment of obesity.

Both companies have seen a surge in demand for their products as high profile figures and social media users touted their weight-loss effects. 

In the latest quarter, sales within Novo’s diabetes and obesity care unit increased by 25% in Danish kroner to $8.9 billion. The company attributes this uptick to the “GLP-1 diabetes sales growth of 30% in Danish kroner and obesity care growing by 41% in Danish kroner to $1.6 billion. 

FDA APPROVES ELI LILLY’S TIRZEPATIDE FOR WEIGHT LOSS 

In order to stay ahead of the competition, the company announced on Thursday that the prices of Wegovy and Ozempic have been dropping.

An injection pen of Zepbound, Eli Lilly's weight-loss drug, is displayed in New York City, on Dec. 11, 2023.

“Following an expanding market access and our focus on reaching more patients, Wegovy net prices declined in the first quarter,” Doug Langa, head of Novo Nordisk’s North America operations, told analysts during an earnings call. 

Meanwhile, CFO Karsten Munk Knudsen said the company sees a “continued reduction in price” for Ozempic. 

“Given increasing volume and competition, net pricing like-for-like will be down in the U.S.,” Knudsen added. 

Amid the surge in demand, countless medical professionals have continued to warn patients that they are not meant to be used as a quick fix to just shed weight.

Novo told FOX Business that it is “taking multiple steps to increase awareness about the responsible use” of its medicines. 

“It’s critically important that the right patients get the right treatment, and we want to do our part to minimize misinformation where we can and encourage others engaged in the obesity conversation to bring more clarity whenever possible,” the company said. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LLY ELI LILLY & CO. 735.88 -20.03 -2.65%
NVO NOVO NORDISK A/S 123.06 -0.91 -0.73%

While Wegovy, Ozempic and Rybelsus – which also contains semaglutide and is approved for treatment of Type 2 diabetes – are different products with different indications, dosages and prescribing information. They are not interchangeable and should not be used outside their approved indications. In other words, Rybelsus and Ozempic shouldn’t be used for chronic weight management, Novo said.

Lilly created a campaign aimed in part to help patients understand the appropriate use of anti-obesity medications.

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