See you next year, Ozempic

2 minute read

Will the shortage live to see its second birthday in April 2024?

Bad luck for anyone hoping to get their hands on semaglutide (Ozempic, Novo Nordisk), with the TGA announcing the drug will remain in shortage until year’s end.

After the shortage was initially slated to resolve by the end of 2022, the estimate has since been readjusted to 31 March of this year, then to 30 June, and now to 31 December.

The latest TGA announcement states while “the availability of Ozempic in Australia continues to improve and the supplier, Novo Nordisk, anticipates steady ongoing supply,” the injectable drug that has seen skyrocketing off-label for weight loss will remain in shortage until the end of the year because of “ongoing significant demand”.

The TGA, Ozempic’s sponsor Novo Nordisk and a range of key professional organisations such as the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society, the Australian Diabetes Society and the RACGP reiterated their stance that “prescriptions for Ozempic should continue to be limited to the registered Australian indications” – the management of poorly controlled and insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes.

“Current stock levels of Ozempic may not accommodate off-label prescribing for other chronic conditions such as obesity. Prescribers are asked to consider this when prescribing Ozempic for their patients and should continue to consider alternatives to semaglutide, given that supply will remain unstable for some time,” the announcement read.

According to the Australian Journal of Pharmacy, Novo Nordisk “has told British media outlets to expect shortages in the UK until into 2024”, meaning we may be back in April to celebrate the shortage’s second birthday.

Novo Nordisk had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

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