Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has introduced its weight-loss injection, Wegovy, to the United Kingdom. Marking its second European launch in just over a month. This expansion comes as Novo Nordisk strives to establish a stronger presence in the region, even as it grapples with surging demand.
In a statement, Novo Nordisk revealed that the availability of Wegovy in the UK would commence through a “controlled and limited launch.”
Record High Demand for Novo Nordisk’s Drugs
The growing demand for Wegovy, along with Novo’s highly effective diabetes medication Ozempic. It has propelled the company’s shares and earnings to historic highs. On Friday, Novo Nordisk overtook LVMH as Europe’s most valuable publicly traded company, ending the French luxury group’s 2.5-year reign at the top.
Wegovy has demonstrated its ability to help patients achieve a body weight reduction of approximately 15% when used in conjunction with exercise and lifestyle modifications. Currently, the drug is available in the United States, Norway, Denmark, and Germany since late July.
However, Novo Nordisk’s struggle to meet the high demand for Wegovy in the United States has caused delays in the drug’s European launch.
Challenges in Meeting Demand
Despite expanding its production capacity, Novo Nordisk has faced difficulties in keeping up with the demand for Wegovy. The company’s CEO stated last month that it would take “quite some years” before they can adequately meet the market’s needs.
Novo Nordisk affirmed its commitment to closely monitoring the demand for Wegovy and working with regulators and healthcare providers to ensure that individuals dealing with obesity can access and maintain the treatment.
UK Usage Recommendation and Cost
In March, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the UK’s drug cost-effectiveness watchdog, recommended the use of Wegovy for adults with at least one weight-related condition and a body mass index (BMI) of 35. However, this recommendation applies exclusively within the National Health Service’s (NHS) specialist weight management program, and Wegovy is intended for use for a maximum of two years.
The exact cost of Wegovy in the UK has not been disclosed. NICE had not responded to requests for comment at the time of this report.