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Wegovy, Ozempic: The barriers to accessing these weight loss drugs
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Ozempic, Wegovy help with weight loss but the rebound is real: Dr. Nicole Saphier
Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier discusses the dangers of using the diabetes drug Ozempic for weight loss on ‘The Big Money Show.’
There are a handful of barriers that may prevent patients from being able to attain highly sought-after drugs Wegovy and Ozempic including elevated cost, lack of insurance coverage and availability.
Last year, there was a temporary national shortage of both drugs after celebrities and some notable figures touted their effects as a weight loss treatment — including billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
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Wegovy vs Ozempic
Wegovy and Ozempic are the same medication — semaglutide. They just have different dosages and FDA-approved intended uses.
Ozempic was approved by federal health officials in 2017 and marketed for medical use in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes "with weight loss as a secondary effect of the drug’s effects and mechanism of action."
Wegovy was approved four years later specifically for chronic weight management in adults who are obese or overweight and have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk said neither drug is "intended to be used as a lifestyle medication."
‘Hiccups’ over availability
Novo Nordisk told FOX Business that all dose strengths of Wegovy are now available to retail pharmacies nationwide but cautioned that "pharmacies may experience normal delays given the time required to order the product from their local distribution center, and geographical variabilities."
The drugmaker also said most doses of Ozempic are available for patients with Type 2 diabetes across the U.S. but that there are still "intermittent supply disruptions" for certain doses.
This disruption is "anticipated through mid-March — due to the combination of incredible demand coupled with overall global supply constraints," the company said.