Frankfurt: Novo Nordisk has launched blockbuster weight-loss drug Wegovy in Germany, its first massive European market, hoping Germans pays a whole bunch of euros out of pocket for a drug that public medical insurance plans are to date barred from overlaying.
The drug, proven to assist sufferers cut back physique weight by round 15 per cent when used together with train and life-style modifications, is already accessible in america, however in Europe is to date on sale solely in small markets Norway and Denmark.
A spokesperson for Novo confirmed on Saturday that German sufferers had acquired their first prescriptions, in step with beforehand introduced plans to launch the drug there on the finish of July.
The Danish drugmaker’s share worth has greater than doubled within the two years because the drug debuted, turning Novo into Europe’s second-most-valuable listed firm after LVMH.
Docs and sufferers in Germany have informed Reuters they anticipate excessive demand for the weekly injections, with many sufferers ready to tackle the associated fee, beginning at 170 euros ($190) a month and rising to greater than 300 euros as remedy requires the dosage to extend.
Public medical insurance plans, which cowl about 90 per cent of Germans, won’t foot the invoice, beneath a a long time outdated regulation that bars them from overlaying weight-loss medication.
For the ten per cent of Germans with non-public medical insurance, protection will differ. Amongst main suppliers, Allianz says it’ll pay if a doctor diagnoses a medical want, whereas Debeka stated its plans exclude weight-loss remedies.
Affected person advocates and physicians have welcomed the arrival of Wegovy in Germany, the place 18.5 per cent of adults are overweight, above the European Union common of 16 per cent.
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s state public well being company, says illnesses linked to extra physique weight pose a substantial burden on well being and social safety methods.
Novo is ramping up manufacturing to fulfill hovering demand in america, the place the drug sells for as a lot as $1,350 a month. It says it’ll intently monitor prescriptions in Germany to make sure entry for individuals with weight problems, nevertheless it can not not rule out provide delays.
In Germany, Wegovy will probably be administered with the identical injection pen utilized in Norway and Denmark, completely different from the one utilized in america, to keep away from hitting provides there.
Wegovy’s introduction in Germany will stir debate in a nation the place the well being care system has typically handled weight problems as a life-style selection quite than a persistent illness.
Docs say many Germans looking for to drop some pounds have already used Ozempic, a diabetes drug additionally made by Novo that could be a decrease dose model of the identical ingredient as Wegovy.
Physicians have apprehensive that provides can be strained by non-obese individuals looking for “vainness” prescriptions – a priority mirrored in a Novo assertion in mid-July saying physicians ought to “prescribe responsibly”.