May 26, 2024

A dose of Wegovy’s highly-coveted weight loss drug is no longer in limited supply, according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug shortage database.

The 1.7 milligram dose of Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy joins the 2.4 milligram dose as the only doses of the drug that are not in shortage. Three smaller doses of the drug are still in limited availability due to increased demand. The FDA says the duration of these shortages is still to be determined.

“We are aware that another manufacturer has communicated supply shortages for its obesity medicine which may have implications for Wegovy demand,” Novo Nordisk said in emailed statement to Quartz.

Wegovy-competitor Zepbound, manufactured by Eli Lilly, was declared to be in shortage this past month. The FDA says all but one dose of Zepbound will be in short supply through the end of June.

“Our focus has and will continue to be on patients and doing what we can to ensure that people who start treatment can stay on treatment,” the company added. “That’s why we have been thoughtfully managing shipments of Wegovy for the past year while we worked to increase our production capacity.”

While the company plans to gradually increase the drug’s supply throughout the year it admits that “demand will continue to exceed supply.”

The weight loss drug shortage

Both Eli Lilly and its rival Novo Nordisk are struggling to produce enough GLP-1 drugs — the class of medication that Zepbound, Mounjaro, Wegovy and Ozempic belong to — to meet rising demand. GLP-1s are used to treat diabetes and obesity. They have become popular for their appetite suppressing side effects and have been shown to help users lose up 26% of their body weight.

Sales of a new class of weight loss drugs known as GLP-1s have transformed Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk into the most valuable pharmaceutical companies in the world. But the high demand has also made it hard for some patients to have their prescriptions filled.

“Due to the unprecedented demand for these medicines, some patients may experience difficulty when trying to fill their prescription at their pharmacy,” an Eli Lilly spokesperson told Bloomberg in March.

Novo Nordisk has been limiting starter doses of Wegovy since last year to ensure there’s enough supply for patients already on the drug. The FDA first declared a shortage of Wegovy in March of 2022. Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said in March that the gap between demand for weight loss drugs and the supply is significant enough to take years to close.

Novo Nordisk announced in February that it has acquired three facilities from the company’s largest shareholder, Novo Holdings, for $11 billion in an effort to address a shortage of Wegovy. The deal was made in connection with Novo Holdings’ acquisition of the drug manufacturing company Catalent. Novo Nordisk said in a statement that the acquisition will increase the company’s production capacity beginning in 2026.

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