The Danish laboratory Novo Nordisk recommended on Wednesday December 6 that health professionals in France only prescribe its antidiabetic Ozempic to patients already treated, in order to ensure continuity of care, in a context of explosion in global demand.
The laboratory has chosen to “reserve, in this difficult period when we are not yet able to meet the demand because it is so high, the drugs available for patients who are already under treatment. Hence the desire to no longer start new treatment, temporarily,” indicated a spokesperson.
The Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) warned for its part that supply tensions were “expected throughout 2024” for Ozempic (initiation dose of 0.25 mg). This drug is very popular on social networks for its weight-loss properties, which has led to stock shortages, particularly in Australia. It belongs to the family of drugs analogous to GLP-1, an intestinal hormone that secretes insulin and sends a signal of satiety to the brain.
“We are facing unprecedented demand in the life of the company,” insisted the spokesperson, repeating that no one could anticipate such enthusiasm. “Is this misuse or not?” asks the spokesperson, limiting herself to noting a “massive increase in prescriptions”. “When the laboratory has rebuilt a sufficient stock, we will be able to restart treatment initiations,” Dr Isabelle Yoldjian, medical director at the ANSM, told AFP.
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At the same time, Novo Nordisk has decided to limit the production of Victoza, a first generation GLP-1 analogue, less in demand than the second generation of which Ozempic is a part. An arbitration taken “in order to improve the provision of Ozempic”, explained the spokesperson. According to the ANSM, the Victoza supply “will be reduced in the city at least until the end of the 2nd quarter of 2024”. In recent months, the laboratory has increased its investment announcements on all of its major production sites, including the two billion euro one in Chartres, but the effect will not be immediate.