Recent fads have popularized certain medicines as weight loss drugs, however, the growing demand has left little supply for those who depend on the medicines to treat other ailments.
- Medications such as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro are common diabetes treatments. More recently, they have become a popular weight-loss drug as the side effects suppress a user’s appetite.
- TikTok videos with the hashtag Ozempic have garnered more than 600 million views, The Hustle reports.
- While these drugs are not explicitly relegated to weight-loss use, the rapid demand for the drugs has left little for those who actually need the medications for diabetes treatment. Of the three, only Wegovy is actually an approved weight-loss drug.
- Drug shortages have caused pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Novo Nordisk to increase production.
Why it’s news
The growing demand has left little supply for patients needing the medication. About one month’s worth of the drugs costs around $1,000 in the U.S. Insurance approval processes for the drugs can be difficult. High prices and lack of access have resulted in American consumers looking to Canada and Mexico to buy less expensive medication, Business Insider reports.
In British Columbia, around 9% of pharmacy fills for Ozempic came from American patients in 2022—around 22 times higher than any other drug.
The Ozempic craze is not expected to slow down any time soon. In fact, sales from the drug may break records this year, becoming the best-selling drug of all time, according to NBC News.
Novo Nordisk is preparing for the influx of customers with a $2.58 billion expansion project to increase its capacity to produce diabetes drugs. Fellow drug manufacturer Eli Lilly is also working on a $1.7 billion expansion to the same end.