Novo Nordisk said Wednesday that it has increased the supply of the lowest dose of its blockbuster weight loss drug Wegovy, which it says will allow more people in the U.S. to start taking the drug.
Last May, overwhelming demand for the drug led Novo Nordisk to restrict the supply of the lowest dose of Wegovy, also called the starter dose, in order to avoid shortages of higher doses.
Because the medication can come with gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, doctors often start new patients on the lowest dose and then gradually increase the dosage over several weeks.
Novo Nordisk’s supply restrictions — an attempt to keep enough supply available for people already on the weight loss drug — meant that many new patients were unable to start treatment.
What’s more, some people who wanted Wegovy were instead prescribed Ozempic off-label for weight loss, leaving people with diabetes unable to get their medication. (Ozempic, also from Novo Nordisk, is approved for diabetes and shares the same active ingredient as Wegovy, called semagluatide.)
Novo Nordisk made the announcement during a call with reporters discussing its 2023 financial results.
It also said insurance coverage of the weight loss drug continues to improve.
About 50 million people in the U.S. with obesity should be able to get coverage for Wegovy, according to the company.