People with diabetes struggle to get weight loss medications

Some diabetes patients are struggling to get a drug that is vital to their health because it contains an active ingredient similar to a weight loss drug that is not yet sold in Israel.

Ozempic, a drug used by people with diabetes to control blood sugar, contains semaglutide, which can be used for weight loss, but at a lower dose than the injectable anti-obesity drug Wegovy, it helps users lose 15 percent of their body weight after a year. long course of treatment, but will be available in Israel only in early 2023.

As a result, thousands of potential Wegovy customers used Ozempic as a substitute, leading to a stockpile drain and some pharmacies unable to provide the drug to diabetes patients, Channel 12 news reported.

“Last week, I stopped treating 10 Ozempik patients because they couldn’t get the medicine, so I had to give them another medicine that was not as good in my eyes,” the doctor said. This was reported by Ruti Gorev to Channel 12.

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce or respond to enough insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows blood sugar to enter cells to be used as energy. This leads to high blood sugar.

The Ministry of Health has so far refused to stop doctors from prescribing diabetes drugs to patients who have lost weight, arguing that this would be an inappropriate interference with doctors’ care.

Illustrative photo of overweight people walking at the Wingate Institute in Israel. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Instead, the Ministry of Health sent a letter to the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, asking them to work for a “continuous supply” of the drug. According to Channel 12, the company has already increased its supply of Ozempic to Israel more than any other country.

The Danish multinational drug company said it would “work with the Ministry of Health in full transparency” to ensure access to the drug for those who need it.

According to the latest data published by the World Health Organization in 2022, 26.1% of Israeli adults will be obese, including 25.9% of men and 26.2% of women.

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