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Novo says Ozempic starter kits still not available in Germany in Q2


Novo says Ozempic starter kits still not available in Germany in Q2

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Novo Nordisk has warned that starter kits of its popular diabetes drug Ozempic will still not be available in Germany during the second quarter, as shortages in Europe due to the drug’s slimming effect drag out. In a statement by Novo posted on the website of German healthcare regulator BfArM on Tuesday, Novo urged physicians to only issue prescriptions for patients already on the therapy.

The Danish drugmaker also reiterated that doctors should only prescribe Ozempic for its approved use in diabetes, saying that there were sufficient supplies of Wegovy, the obesity drug that is based on the same active ingredient.

Novo said in November last year that the supply situation for new patients seeking to initiate Ozempic therapy in Europe should improve in the first quarter.

Amid continued off-label prescriptions of cheaper option Ozempic for people seeking to lose weight, Novo said in the November statement it would ration starter kits of Ozempic in Europe and reduce supplies of another diabetes drug, Victoza, to prioritise producing Ozempic.

It warned at the time that intermittent Ozempic shortages are expected throughout 2024.

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In its German statement posted on BfArM’s website, Novo said the Ozempic 0.25 mg starter strength will still not be available in Germany during the second quarter, with the 0.5 mg intermediate dose only available in limited volumes.

In a bid to manage side effects and get the body used to the gut-hormone drugs, both Ozempic and Wegovy are initially given at low starter doses and the concentration of active ingredient per injection is increased over months in a practice known as dose escalation.

 

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Editing by Rachel More and Chizu Nomiyama)

 

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