Novo Nordisk’s high-dose obesity drug, Wegovy approved in Canada

DENMARK – Novo Nordisk has announced that Health Canada has approved Wegovy (semaglutide injection), the first and only prescription weight-loss medication with a once-weekly dosing schedule.

Wegovy is indicated for chronic weight management in adult patients with obesity, overweight, and at least one weight-related comorbidity such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, or obstructive sleep apnea in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbidity such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Wegovy will be commercially available in Canada in the fall of 2022. The FDA granted approval in June based on late-stage testing that found the drug helped patients achieve and maintain an average of 15% weight loss over 68 weeks.

Novo also manufactures the weight-loss drug Saxenda, which has been shown to help patients lose 5% of their body weight on average.

Obesity affects approximately 8.3 million adults in Canada, a chronic disease recognized by leading health organizations such as Obesity Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, and the World Obesity Federation, among others.

Obesity is a disease that is linked to at least 60 other serious health problems and a lower life expectancy.

In September, Novo Nordisk collaborated with retail pharmacy giant CVS Health on a new education and nutrition coaching program for people taking anti-obesity medications as it prepared to disrupt the obesity market with its newly approved weight-loss drug Wegovy.

The program, which is available both virtually and in person, expands on the nutrition coaching services that CVS already provides at some of its HealthHUB locations.

It includes a personal nutrition assessment, body composition tests, dietician coaching sessions, healthy meal coupons, and an app where patients can access resources such as shopping lists and recipes.

According to the companies, the CVS pilot is aimed at people who have already been prescribed an anti-obesity medication and directs them to resources that can help them better understand how to use their medication.

Though the program is unbranded, it fits well with Novo’s Wegovy rollout strategies, which are “very much patient-directed.”

The pilot comes just months after the FDA approved Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, a higher dose of its diabetes drug Ozempic as a treatment for obesity, which affects more than 40% of the American population.

Wegovy is currently approved in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, with the European Union and other countries reviewing it.

Further to these developments, Novo Nordisk has announced that it has received the results of China’s Volume Based Procurement (VBP) tender for insulin.

The Chinese National Healthcare Security Administration has issued a tender for hospital-sold insulin, and Novo Nordisk has responded. Except for Ryzodeg and Xultophy, all of Novo Nordisk’s insulin was included in the tender.

Novo Nordisk currently anticipates a negative impact on global sales growth of around 3% in 2022 as a result of lower insulin prices and volumes sold in China. The VBP for insulin is scheduled to go into effect in the first half of 2022.

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