Novo Nordisk’s Wonder Diet Drug Ozempic May Land in China Soon
Shi Yi
DATE:  Jun 05 2023
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Novo Nordisk’s Wonder Diet Drug Ozempic May Land in China Soon Novo Nordisk’s Wonder Diet Drug Ozempic May Land in China Soon

(Yicai Global) June 5 -- Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk has applied to China’s drug regulator to widen the scope of use of its diabetes medicine, which is also being used in the US as a miracle weight-loss drug, The Paper reported yesterday. Although no details were given, market observers suspect that the additional medical indication will be obesity.

Novo Nordisk’s application to broaden the use of its diabetes injection semeglutide in China has been accepted, the Center for Drug Evaluation of the National Medicine Product Administration said on June 3.

Trading under the name Ozempic, the drug was given the greenlight in China in April 2021 for use as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Semeglutide is used in injected-form in China, but Novo Nordisk is starting to introduce it in other countries in tablet form.

The medicine, though, has been taking the US by storm as a weight-loss drug under the trade name Wegovy. It was approved to treat adult obesity in the US in June 2021 and has even been endorsed by Elon Musk, founder of electric car startup Tesla, who said on social media in October last year that he lost nine kilograms in a month through dieting and taking Wegovy.

As a result, sales have rocketed. The Nagsvaerd-based company’s sales of the drug more than trebled in the first quarter from a year earlier to DKK4.5 billion (USD645.7 million), and last year they soared four-and-a-half times to DKK6.2 billion (USD900 million).

But the surged demand has caused the drug to sell out in many places resulting in diabetes patients being unable to buy it. In March, the European Medicines Agency asked doctors to prioritize the supply of semeglutide for diabetic patients over obese patients, given the shortage.

Less than a year ago, Novo Nordisk's China arm emphasized that Ozempic is a prescription drug and that it has been approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes in China. Patients must strictly follow doctors’ instructions and purchase drugs through authorized channels, it added.

Weight-loss clinical trials of semeglutide tablets are being planned in China, but recruitment of volunteers has not started yet.

Editor: Kim Taylor

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Keywords:   Novo Nordisc,Wegovy