The existence of Ozempic has been a whispered secret in social circles, especially as it has made it’s way around Hollywood. And it looks like its UK counterpart Wegovy will start circulation in drugstores and the National Health Service (NHS) centers soon.
So what are Ozempic and Wegovy? These are drugs used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Ozempic made headlines in 2022 when reports of a shortage of it on the market surfaced. People with diabetes who previously had no problem getting it found it hard to get their ongoing perscriptions of the drug. Analysis then showed the lack of supply may be due to people buying it for the unintended side effect of weight loss.
Ozempic and Wegovy are drugs that can mimic hormones that regulate insulin levels, so these are effective treatments for type 2 diabetes. But it has been gaining popularity lately because it can also make the hormone that signals when someone is full, so people started seeking it out for weight-loss treatment.
The truth is, it is effective if you want to shed some pounds. Insiders say it has been a long-kept secret to some Hollywood stars maintaining their figure. There is no confirmation on whether celebrities use the drug to stay “fit,” but allegations have come as far as people hoarding Ozempic or Wegovy, contributing to its shortage.
Ozempic and Wegovy have the same weight-loss effects, but Wegovy has a higher dosage. Recently the drug manufacturing company has started marketing semaglutides as a weight-loss solution.
The British government also largely looks at the drug’s weight-loss properties when it announced massive distribution in drugstores throughout the country. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued a draft that should be finalized today, March 8, that recommends people living with obesity to take Wegovy to mitigate their weight.
Helen Knight, program director of health technology evaluation at NICE gave a statement saying, “We know that management of overweight and obesity is one of the biggest challenges our health service is facing with nearly two-thirds of adults either overweight or obese. It is a lifelong condition that needs medical intervention, has psychological and physical effects, and can affect the quality of life.”
Once the recommendation from NICE is finalized, the National Health Service (NHS) will start prescribing the drug to people who need it. But two major drugstore chains, Boots and Superdrugs, have announced that they are carrying the drug. People can order Wegovy on Boots’ website, while Superdrug has created a waitlist for potential buyers.
Given the shortage of both Ozempic and Wegovy, there has been growing concern about whether the drugs will be available for wide circulation in the UK. But manufacturer Novo Nordisk assured the public that they are ramping up their production to prepare for the possible surge in demand.
Wegovy costs an exorbitant amount in the United States. Four-pack injection pens would usually set you back about $1,350 without insurance. The price in the UK is drastically less at around 74 pounds ($88) for the same four pens. But when the directive from NICE gets approved, the NHS will be prescribing them for free.