Novo Nordisk's Wegovy Delivers: Long-Term Study Shows Sustained Weight Loss As Drugmaker Tries To Woo Insurers And Governments

Patients using Novo Nordisk’s NVO NONOF obesity treatment, Wegovy, have reportedly maintained an average weight loss of 10% over a four-year period, as per data revealed by the company on Tuesday. This information was shared at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, Italy.

What Happened: The data, derived from a large-scale study, most of which was published last year, could potentially bolster Novo’s case for Wegovy as it attempts to convince insurers and governments to cover the cost of the drug, countering the perception of it being merely a lifestyle drug, Reuters reported.

“This is the longest study we’ve conducted so far of semaglutide for weight loss,” stated Martin Holst Lange, Novo’s head of development.

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The trial involved 17,604 patients and tested Wegovy not for weight loss, but for its heart protective benefits for overweight and obese patients with preexisting heart disease but not diabetes. Participants were not required to track diet and exercise as it was not an obesity study.

Why It Matters: Despite supply constraints and competition from Eli Lilly, the demand for Wegovy has been on the rise. The drug’s sales more than doubled to 9.38 billion kroner ($1.35 billion) in the first quarter, although this figure fell short of analysts’ estimates due to pricing pressure.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently endorsed Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic, a GLP-1 agonist primarily prescribed to manage Type 2 diabetes, and sparked a conversation about childhood obesity and potential solutions.

On the other hand, Denmark’s healthcare authority has decided to favor less expensive drugs for type 2 diabetes patients, impacting the prescription of costlier GLP-1 drugs such as Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic. This decision is expected to affect nearly half of all current GLP-1 drug users, who may switch to cheaper alternatives.

Price Action: On Monday, Novo Nordisk closed 3.09% higher on NYSE at $132.39, according to Benzinga Pro.

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