Yet another weight loss drug is now hard to get as high demand creates major shortages

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Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, chief executive officer of Novo Nordisk.

Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Novo Nordisk’s drug Saxenda is the latest to hit a shortage, as high demand for weight loss drugs sparks supply snags across the industry.

Saxenda will have limited availability through the end of the year, according to a notice posted Tuesday on a US Food and Drug Administration database.

On a consumer-facing website for the drug, the company said it is still making and shipping Saxenda but warned of issues filling prescriptions “for the remainder of 2023 and beyond.” 

“We continue to see demand for Saxenda increase at a substantial rate, resulting in supply interruptions,“ a Novo spokesperson said in an email. 

Newer drugs from Novo Nordisk like Wegovy and Ozempic, as well as Eli Lilly & Co.’s diabetes drug Mounjaro, have become hugely popular in recent months after studies showed they could help patients lose dozens of pounds. Only Wegovy is approved by the FDA to treat obesity.

While Saxenda works similarly to these new drugs, it’s less effective and helps patients lose less weight. Recent shortages of Wegovy and Mounjaro, however, have led to renewed interest. Prescriptions for Saxenda jumped nearly 30,000 between May 2023 and June 2023, according to Bloomberg Intelligence data, the biggest monthly jump over the past two years. 

On a Novo website for Wegovy, the company warns prospective patients against switching to Saxenda, saying “we cannot guarantee supply to match the continuous rising demand for weight management medications.”

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