Demand for weight loss medication overwhelms key health and production players

Pharma giant Novo Nordisk and health insurance association Sygeforsikringen Danmark both impacted by immense popularity of Wegovy

Earlier this year, health insurance company Sygeforsikringen Danmark said it was reconsidering its stance on reimbursing customers who take out a prescription for Novo Nordisk drug Wegovy, an effective but expensive weight loss medicine launched last year.

Well, consider the issue reconsidered.

Sygeforsikringen Danmark has announced that it will halt subsidies for Wegovy for its 2.7 million members.

“Unfortunately, since the turn of the year, the increase in subsidies for weight loss medicine has been to such an extent that we have had to look more closely at how we as an association can best protect our members in a broader perspective”, said Allan Luplau, CEO of Sygeforsikringen Danmark.

Sygeforsikringen Danmark is a member-owned association who receive subsidies for medication, glasses, contact lenses, physiotherapy, vaccinations and more.

“We have decided that from January 1, 2024, the subsidy for weight loss medicine will be removed – regardless of the brand – unless the member has been granted a single subsidy by the Danish Medicines Agency via the doctor,” said Luplau.

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Novo Nordisk can’t keep up
Wegovy producer Novo Nordisk is also feeling the pressure, announcing that it cannot meet the demand for Wegovy.

Novo Nordisk’s first quarter results that were posted today showed that earnings had skyrocketed to 19.8 billion kroner – a growth of 39 percent compared to the same period last year. The rise was partially driven by Wegovy.

But, despite that success, Denmark’s most valuable company has been forced to reduce access to starting doses of Wegovy in the US due to the immense demand.

“We basically see linear growth continuing. And I don’t think it comes as a surprise that we can’t cover a demand that just continues to grow,” Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, the head of Novo Nordisk, said according to MarketWire.

According to some figures, over 100,000 Wegovy prescriptions are taken out every week in the US.

And in just a few months, Wegovy has become the dominant drug for weight loss in Denmark.