Finding Ozempic, the “trendy” antidiabetic drug in 2023, remains a mission impossible in most pharmacies around the world, including Spanish ones. ,They’ve been coming to us with droppers for two months and we try to reserve the ones that are available for our patients Type 2 diabetes, the main recipient of this drug”, they explain to 65YMÁS from a pharmacy in Madrid. Thus they confirm the intermittent topical shortage of this drug that complicates the daily life of more than 5 million Spaniards with diabetes. almost half of whom are 65 years old.
And it is to the supply problems of those who have warned since last October the laboratory that produces it, Novo Nordisk, or the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), we must add that the demand for the drug, whose generic name There is semaglutide, it has reached exponential levels in recent months. One of the most important factors contributing to this is that celebrities have publicized their ‘miraculous’ slimming properties on social networks such as TikTok.
The ‘Hollywood Drug’ Is Not a “Magic Wand for Everyone”
Kardashian or the controversial Elon Musk, owner of Twitter and Tesla, assures that “a combination of fasting, Ozempic / Vegovy and abstaining from tasty food” allowed him to lose 13 kg in a few months. The hashtag #Ozempic has been viewed millions of times and #Ozempic weightloss (which translates to Ozempicpérdidadeso) has gone viral. However, this drug only It is given by prescription for patients with type 2 diabetes and people suffering from obesity in addition to this disease. (IMC between 25 and 29.9), remember the experts.
“It’s not Hollywood medicine, it’s science, which works by mimicking the hormones that control appetite., Doses are given as weekly injections and have been shown to decrease body weight by an average of 6 to 15% over the course of a year. Combined with diet and exercise, it provides dramatic results for blood sugar levels and weight loss, but should be used under medical supervision and only as prescribed. It’s not a magic wand for everyone,” says endocrinologist Cristóbal Morales, a member of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (@SociedadSeedo) and member of the Spanish Diabetes Society (@SEDiabetes), who recall that clinical trials have also shown that the drug reduces the risk of heart disease.
Fasting + Ozempic/Vegovy + I don’t have any yummy food
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 16, 2022
Supply problem will continue in 2023
In view of the increasing popularity of this medicine, the problem of its shortage is also coming to the fore from time to time. “It is not a Spanish issue, there are supply problems globally due to the peak in demand – probably due to inappropriate use – but also due to manufacturing problems in the global world, as most of the components come from abroad and that is causing problems in many areas. is causing”, explains Juan Pedro Riskez, Vice President of the General Council of the Pharmaceutical Association (@Pharmaceuticos_, “Shortage is a problem that is here to stay and in the case of Ozempic we will continue to have difficulties, at least during this first half of the year”But invites not to be worried as it is sure that work is already being done to provide alternatives.
From the Spanish Diabetes Association (@FEDE_diabetes) also confirm this position. “More demand than expected is being experienced for Ozempic, which is causing intermittent availability of the drug in some pharmacies,” says manager Mercedes Maderuello. We understand and recognize the uncertainty and concern this situation is causing urgently in people with diabetes and we recommend that as long as this situation persistsThey can always start an alternative treatment with a GLP-1 analogue commercially available in Spain, under the medical supervision of a health professional”.
Reassuring message from experts: “No patient is going to run out of medication”
The existence of alternatives is precisely the argument used by experts to send a reassuring message to diabetics who use Ozempic: “No patient will be left without their medication. For example, there are oral solutions, rather than injections, which contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide, and which can serve as a substitute.Morales says. What experts recommend is that, given the difficulties in finding the drug in pharmacies, patients with prescriptions make an appointment with their primary care physician, endocrinologist, or referral doctor. “The patient should contact their doctor, who will explain the options that exist, but will not leave them without treatment or have it interrupted.”
The Spanish Medicines Agency has already requested doctors to prioritize the use of these GLP-1 analog therapies according to the authorized conditions. (glycemic control of patients with DM2); As far as possible, don’t introduce new treatments until owners have confirmed they can supply demand. Furthermore, they indicate that as long as the supply problem persists, and given the possibility of not being able to start/continue treatment due to the absence of the drug on the market, it is recommended to replace the treatment with a Is performed. Available drugs from the same therapeutic group.
There is a danger of it falling into the black market
Meanwhile, experts point out that the real problem with this drug is its uncontrolled use. “Officially it is always sold with a prescription and medical control, but we know that there are a lot of sales on the internet and on the black market that are much more expensive than what you can get through a doctor it occurs”, says Cristóbal Morales. From the General Council of Pharmaceutical Colleges they warn that “special care should be taken because in addition to the health problems that may arise if the drug is acquired without actually being needed, there is also the possibility that they are counterfeit.”
It should be remembered that the cost of A month of Ozempic treatment in Spain costs around 130 euros per pen. However, when the drug is prescribed within the national health system, the patient only pays 4.24 euros. Hence, experts call on physicians to use a digital prescription and not hand in hand, which supports its illegal sale. “Buying a drug that hasn’t been prescribed for you can have significant risks. You have much more to lose than to gain,” he says. And in regards to advice from celebrities encouraging abusive use, he believes “it’s not fair” and can cause a lot of problems.