April 19, 2024


Wegovy injection pens

A clinical trail found that Wegovy could cut the risk of serious heart events by 20%
Image: Staff (Reuters)

Medicare will start covering the popular weight loss drug Wegovy for patients who are prescribed the medication as a way to reduce their risk of serious heart events such as heart attacks and strokes, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Thursday.

“CMS has issued guidance to Medicare Part D plans stating that anti-obesity medications that receive FDA approval for an additional medically accepted indication can be considered a Part D drug for that specific use,” a CMS spokesperson told Reuters in an emailed statement.

The new guidance comes about a week after federal regulators expanded the approved use of Wegovy to include reducing heart risks for adults who are obese or overweight.

The highly coveted medication belongs to the same class of drug as diabetes medication Ozempic, which is also known for its weight loss side effects.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the approved use of Wegovy on March 8, months after its maker Novo Nordisk announced results from a clinical trial that found the drug cut the risk of serious heart events by 20%.

Ozempic — also produced by Novo Nordisk — is already covered by Medicare.

Wegovy supply is still behind

The news could make it harder for patients to fill their prescriptions, as Novo Nordisk has had a difficult time meeting skyrocketing demand for the drug. Since May 2023, Novo Nordisk has been limiting starter doses to ensure there is enough supply for patients already on the drug.

The company announced in February that in an effort to address a shortage of Wegovy, it acquired three facilities from its company’s largest shareholder Novo Holdings for $11 billion. The deal was made in connection with Novo Holdings’s acquisition of the drug manufacturing company Catalent.

Novo Nordisk said in a statement that the acquisition will increase the company’s production capacity from 2026 and onwards.



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