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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug shortage fuels Eli Lilly supply challenge

Health Industry Hub | September 9, 2022 |

Pharma News: There remains an increased global shortage for Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide products causing unavailability and uncertainty of supply of type 2 diabetes medicine Ozempic (semaglutide) in Australia until early 2023.

The stock issues relating to Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic has resulted from off-label use in chronic weight management and is impacting other medicines in the Australian market.

Eli Lilly Australia has had to inform clinicians and pharmacists that the company is continuing to experience an unanticipated increase in demand of its type 2 diabetes medication, Trulicity (dulaglutide), due to Ozempic supply shortages.

On 4 August 2022, the expected period of semaglutide shortage in Australia was updated on the TGA medicine shortage database to 31 December 2022. As a result, Lilly has extended the Limited Availability status for Trulicity on the TGA medicine shortage database to 31 December 2022. With limited availability of stock, Lilly anticipates delays, interruptions and/or shortages in stock available through wholesalers and at pharmacies during this time

Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy (semaglutide) was approved for inclusion on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), on 1 September 2022, for chronic weight management as an adjunct to a reduced-energy diet and increased physical activity. Novo Nordisk is yet to supply Wegovy in Australia. No anti-obesity medications are currently subsidised through the PBS.

It is also important to note that while Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide, they have different approved indications and uses, as well as different dosages and devices. As such, Ozempic and Wegovy are not interchangeable.

The TGA met with stakeholders who co-developed the Ozempic joint statement with key obesity professional organisations, including Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS), National Association of Clinical Obesity Services (NACOS) and The Collective for Action on Obesity, to discuss recommendations for patients and health professionals affected by the shortage of Ozempic.

The group recognised the challenges for people with type 2 diabetes affected by this shortage while acknowledging that obesity is a highly prevalent, serious, complex, and chronic disease that is challenging to manage. The group agreed that prescribers treating patients with either condition should be advised to strongly consider alternatives to semaglutide because of the current intermittent supply situation.


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