May 19, 2024

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Belgium Forced to Restrict the Use of Diabetes Drug Ozempic

Belgium Forced to Restrict the Use of Diabetes Drug Ozempic Due to Overwhelming Market Demand



Belgium Forced to Restrict the Use of Diabetes Drug Ozempic Due to Overwhelming Market Demand

Belgium authorities have announced temporary restrictions on the use of Ozempic, a diabetes drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk, and similar medications due to shortages in the supply chain.

The Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products in Belgium issued a statement on the same day, stating that drugs like Ozempic, belonging to the GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) category, will only be applicable to patients with type 2 diabetes and certain severe cases of obesity.

The restricted drugs also include Novo Nordisk’s Rybelsus and Victoza, Eli Lilly’s Trulicity, and AstraZeneca’s Bydureon.

 

Belgium Forced to Restrict the Use of Diabetes Drug Ozempic Due to Overwhelming Market Demand

 

 

These limitations are expected to remain in effect until June 2024. The agency had issued a warning in September, citing a rapid increase in demand leading to shortages in the supply of Ozempic.

Belgium’s Minister of Health, Franck Vandenbroucke, had previously stated, “We told doctors that they must reserve this medication for patients with type 2 diabetes, but we found that this strategy is not working.” He acknowledged the utility of the drug for individuals with obesity and expressed the need for discussion on this matter.

Apart from diabetes patients, these drugs will now be applicable to individuals with a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 35 or a BMI equal to or greater than 30 with at least one weight-related comorbidity, provided they have a prescription from an endocrinologist.

The primary reason behind Belgium’s official restrictions is the shortage of the weight loss drug Wegovy. Due to limited Wegovy supply, some obese patients turned to the use of the diabetes drug Ozempic as an alternative, as both medications share the same active ingredient. However, this shift has resulted in a shortage of Ozempic for diabetes patients.

Additionally, the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products in Belgium has cautioned against purchasing such drugs online, as reports of counterfeit GLP-1 drugs have been received.

A spokesperson from Novo Nordisk emphasized that the company encourages the appropriate use of its products—Ozempic is designed for treating diabetes, while Wegovy is a weight loss medication.

It’s worth noting that Belgium is not the first country to restrict the supply of this diabetes drug. In July of this year, the United Kingdom implemented similar restrictions on the use of Ozempic for non-type 2 diabetes patients.

To address supply shortages, Novo Nordisk announced last week that it would invest over 42 billion Danish krone (approximately $6 billion) to expand its production facilities in Denmark, starting from 2023. This investment aims to increase the capacity for weight loss drug Wegovy and other medications and is expected to be completed gradually from the end of 2025 to 2029. Novo Nordisk stated that the investment will enhance the company’s global value chain, including active pharmaceutical ingredient production and packaging, with the majority of funds directed at increasing active pharmaceutical ingredient capacity. The investment aims to boost the company’s ability to meet future market demand, including GLP-1 products.

Belgium Forced to Restrict the Use of Diabetes Drug Ozempic Due to Overwhelming Market Demand

(source:internet, reference only)


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