The head of Germany’s drug regulator BfArM is considering an export ban on Novo Nordisk’s (NOVOb.CO) diabetes drug Ozempic, which is in high demand for its weight-loss benefits, to prevent a further worsening of a supply shortage.
Ozempic is approved to treat type 2 diabetes but has increasingly been prescribed “off-label” to treat weight loss because it has the same active ingredient as Novo’s hugely popular – and scarce – anti-obesity drug Wegovy.
There is a risk of Ozempic being moved out of the country because it is cheaper there than in many other countries, BfArM president Karl Broich told Spiegel magazine.
“We know that some of the syringes that are supplied to Germany for our diabetes patients are channelled to other European countries or the United States,” he told Spiegel on Wednesday.
“That’s a big problem. We need the medication for the care of diabetes patients and not as a lifestyle drug.”