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Challenges Ahead for Novo Nordisk’s Diabetes Drug Ozempic Challenges Ahead for Novo Nordisk’s Diabetes Drug Ozempic

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Ozempic Starter Kits Shortage in Germany

Novo Nordisk A/S has issued a warning regarding the shortage of starter kits for its popular diabetes drug Ozempic (semaglutide) in Germany during the second quarter. The scarcity, attributed to the drug’s weight-reducing effects, persists despite previous assurances of improvement in the first quarter of this year.

The company emphasized the importance of limiting prescriptions to patients already on Ozempic therapy and adhering to approved diabetic indications. Novo Nordisk advised healthcare professionals to prioritize the intended use of Ozempic in diabetes treatment.

Novo has taken measures to address off-label prescriptions of Ozempic for weight loss, including rationing starter kits and reducing the supply of another diabetes drug, Victoza, to prioritize Ozempic production. However, challenges are expected to continue throughout 2024, with intermittent shortages anticipated.

Biosimilar Threat in China

In a separate development, a Chinese pharmaceutical company, Hangzhou Jiuyuan Gene Engineering, has revealed a biosimilar version of Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic called Jiyoutai. The drug, awaiting approval for sale in China, aims to manage blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients.

Patents for Ozempic and Wegovy in China are set to expire in 2026, raising concerns for Novo Nordisk’s market share. Novo’s Ozempic sales in China saw significant growth last year, reaching DKK 4.8 billion ($694 million) and accounting for 5% of global Ozempic sales.

Competitive Landscape and Supply Challenges

Meanwhile, Eli Lilly And Co’s diabetes drug Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is also facing tight supply constraints due to high demand. The FDA’s website indicated limited availability for doses of 7.5, 10, 12.5, and 15 milligrams until April, while lower doses remain accessible.

Despite the hurdles, Novo Nordisk’s shares are reflecting resilience in the market, showing a 0.80% increase at $127.48 on the last check Wednesday.

Investors and stakeholders are closely monitoring the evolving landscape of the diabetes drug market, with Novo Nordisk navigating challenges in both supply chain management and competitive pressures from biosimilar alternatives.

Image Via Shutterstock

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