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Launch of Novo Nordisk weight loss drug Wegovy in the UK

Packets of the weight-loss drug Wegovy from the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk lie on the counter of a Danish pharmacy.

Stefan Trump | Alliance in pictures | Getty Images

Novo Nordisk launched its Wegovy weight loss injection in the UK on Monday, advancing the rollout of the drug in Europe despite continued supply constraints.

The Danish pharmaceutical giant said the weekly injection would initially be available “as part of a controlled and limited launch”, with only certain patients eligible to receive the drug from the country’s national health service.

To be eligible for treatment, patients must be on the NHS weight management service, have at least one weight-related condition and have a body mass index of 35, as recommended by the National Institute for Care. and Excellency.

The drug will also be available privately through a “licensed healthcare professional,” Novo Nordisk said in a statement, without adding further details.

Novo Nordisk declined to disclose the final price agreed with NHS England for the drug, but said UK drug cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE described it as a ‘cost-effective use of resources’ of the NHS”. He added that the cost in the private market will be “determined by licensed prescribers”.

In the United States, Wegovy has a list price of $1,350 for a monthly dose, while in Europe it sells for between 170 and 300 euros ($190 to $330) per month.

British insurance company Avivawhich provides private health insurance to around 1.1 million Britons, said on Monday Wegovy would not be covered by its policy, according to Reuters.

“Closely monitor” supply issues

Wegovy’s expansion into the UK comes just over a month after the drug launched in Germany, its third-largest European market at the time, after Denmark and Norway.

Growing demand for the weight-loss drug, along with a series of clinical studies that point to its broader health benefits, has propelled the company’s stock to record highs. On Friday, it briefly toppled French luxury giant LVMH to become Europe’s most valuable company.

Supply constraints continue to weigh heavily on the drug’s rollout, with CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen saying last month at a Reuters Newsmakers event that it could be “a few years” before the company can satisfy all consumers.

In the UK, Novo Nordisk said that “a proportion” of available supply would be specifically allocated to NHS treatment and that the company would work with healthcare professionals to ensure that “patients with non-medical needs highest satisfaction” take priority.

“We are closely monitoring demand for Wegovy and working with regulators and providers to ensure that people living with obesity can access and continue to undergo treatment,” he adds.

The company also has limited reserves in other markets. In May, he reduced the US supply of starter doses to ensure continuity for existing patients, while in Germany he advised doctors to “prescribe responsibly”, limiting prescriptions to patients with needs. medical.

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