Medical syringe

For most of us eating less and taking moderate exercise will help with our general health and weight loss… and then we have DRUGS!!!

Fat profits for the pharmaceutical sector again.

The maker of weight-loss drug ‘Wegovy’ has become Europe’s most valuable company, dethroning the French luxury conglomerate LVMH.

Is there an irony here…? Exploitation of the obese, or a genuine attempt to help? It is used in the fight against diabetes too.

It’s a business after all

Wegovy is a brand name for ‘Semaglutide‘, a prescription medicine used for weight loss in obese or overweight adults with other weight-related medical issues. It works by regulating appetite and reducing calorie intake, leading to weight loss and helping with weight management.

Wegovy was launched in the UK on 4th September 2023 and is available on the NHS as an ‘option‘ for weight management in line with NICE guidance, alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. However, only people with the highest medical need may qualify for the drug, as it is in short supply and its use will be restricted – but celebrities have direct access – do they have the ‘highest medical needs’? Of course they do.

Clinical trials

Wegovy has been shown to be effective in clinical trials, achieving up to a 15% reduction in body weight after one year. It has also been found to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke in obese people with cardiovascular disease by 20%.

To get Wegovy on the NHS, eligible adults would need a referral to an NHS specialist weight management service, which would usually be made by a GP. Alternatively, Wegovy can be obtained privately, but it may be expensive and not covered by insurance.

Watercolour image of a generic medicine bottle. Wegovy is a brand name for ‘Semaglutide‘, a prescription medicine used for weight loss in obese or overweight adults with other weight-related medical issues.

Shares rose after the Danish pharmaceutical giant, Novo Nordisk, launched the popular drug in the UK.

At the close of trading on Monday, 4th September 2023, the company had a stock market valuation of $428bn (£339bn).

The drug is now available on the National Health Service in the UK and also via private outlets.

Obesity treatment

Wegovy is an obesity treatment that is taken once a week which tricks people into thinking that they are already full, so they end up eating less and losing weight.

Famous personalities such as Elon Musk are among the reported users of the drug, which has gained traction in Hollywood and with the public more widely since it was approved by regulators in the US in 2021.

Wegovy and Ozempic – a diabetes treatment with similar effects – have been described as ‘miracle’ drugs. Would that be a ‘miracle for the user or for the pharmaceutical company – or both perhaps?

Experts warn the drug is not a quick fix nor a ‘substitute for a healthy diet and exercise’.

In trials, users often put weight back on after stopping treatment.

‘Supply restriction as production ramps up’

There has been a global shortage of the drug, so only limited is awailable for the NHS in the UK.

The company said it will continue to restrict global supplies as it works to ramp up manufacturing.

While the findings still have to be fully reviewed, experts agreed the results were potentially significant.

Exercise, eat less and take… Wegovy!!

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