Belgian market runs out of diabetes drug Ozempic
Ozempic, the diabetic drug also used to lose weight, will no longer be available in Belgium in the coming weeks and months. The manufacturer has informed all doctors of this, writes Het Laatste Nieuws on Thursday.
Ozempic is a drug launched in 2017 by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk for patients with type 2 diabetes. The drug's active ingredient, semaglutide, lowers blood glucose levels and also reduces the risk of the disease's side effects, such as poorly healing wounds, kidney problems and blindness.
Global demand for the drug is so high that production cannot keep up as people increasingly use it to lose weight. The strongest dose is no longer available until the end of December, while other doses are temporarily in short supply.
"We are doing everything we can to ramp up production," says Novo Nordisk. "We work 24 hours a day, seven days a week." In the meantime, doctors should look for alternatives for diabetes patients, the company says.
A few weeks ago, the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAGG) called on doctors and pharmacists to reserve Ozempic for patients with diabetes. Ozempic has been on restricted availability for over a year and will remain so until at least the beginning of 2024.
Rybelsus, the pill alternative, is also currently unavailable. Inappropriate use should be restricted, especially in patients with a BMI below 30. The FAMHP is monitoring the situation at both national and European levels.
© BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM