The Novo Nordisk laboratory has announced that tensions in the taming of Ozempic are expected until 2024. The Medicines Agency has asked healthcare professionals in Europe to no longer prescribe the drug to new patients.
Ozempic: exploding global demand
For several months, Ozempic – a medication intended for patients with type 2 diabetes – has been touted on social networks, particularly on TikTok, as an effective “slimming solution”. Hundreds of videos – showing women injecting Ozempic – are circulating on the network.
The problem ? Patients affected by diabetes may have difficulty finding this medication.
“The diversion of this medication for weight loss has a direct impact on its availability for diabetic patients and can cause, or accentuate, supply tensions depriving them of this essential treatment.“, recalled the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) in March.
In this context, the ANSM and Health Insurance indicate that Ozempic has been subject to “reinforced surveillance” in Europe since March, through the monitoring of sales and reimbursement data from the national data system. (SNDS) and reports of non-compliant use and reports of adverse effects to regional pharmacovigilance centers.
Supply tensions until 2024
Despite these measures, tensions are inevitable and it is the laboratory which warns the health authorities. Faced with the increase in global demand for Ozempic and Victoza, GLP-1 analogues, the Novo Nordisk laboratory informed the ANSM “that in order to allow the continued production of Ozempic for the continuity of care of patients already treated, it suspends the supply of Ozempic 0.25 mg (initiation dose) in the city and in hospitals from the start December 2023 and at least until the end of the first quarter of 2024“. The laboratory limits the production of Victoza, the supply of which will be reduced in the city at least until the end of the 2nd quarter of 2024.
The increase in global demand for Ozempic and Victoza, GLP-1 analogues, is leading to supply tensions, including stock shortages.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
No new patients on Ozempic
So that patients already treated can continue to receive their treatment, the Agency has reviewed its prescription recommendations in consultation with the French-speaking Diabetes Society (SFD), the French Federation of Diabetics (FFD), the French Federation of Nutrition (FFN) , the College of General Medicine (CMG) and the pharmacists’ unions (FSPF and USPO). They are quite simple: no Ozempic or Victoza for new patients, but only renewals for patients already treated.
Renewal of treatment
- No change in treatment
Initiation of treatment
- Victoza and Ozempic should only be prescribed to patients already on treatment to allow continuity of care for these patients. No initiation of treatment with Ozempic or Victoza should no longer be made.
- When the initiation of treatment aims to improve glycemic control (HbA1c above the target): use other molecules of the aGLP-1 class depending on availability and, in the event of unavailability of aGLP-1 , refer to the SFD 2023 position statement for alternative treatment
- When the initiation of treatment is motivated by the presence of proven atheromatous disease and aims to reduce the risk of occurrence or recurrence of a cardiovascular event: SGLT2 inhibitors (iSGLT2) must be prescribed as an alternative to aGLP- 1, as recommended by the SFD.
Proven atheromatous disease is defined by a history of vascular event (myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, revascularization, amputation linked to ischemia, etc.) or a significant atheromatous lesion (stenosis of more than 50% on a coronary artery, a carotid or lower limb artery; unstable angina/silent myocardial ischemia with involvement documented by imaging or functional testing; intermittent claudication with systolic pressure index less than 0.9).
The ANSM specifies that these recommendations may change depending on the situation. We know that in recent months, the laboratory has increased investment announcements across all of its major production sites, including in Europe with 2 billion euros invested in a production site in Chartres. Despite everything, the effect will not be immediate.