The demand for the weight-loss drug semaglutide, used by celebrities like Elon Musk and Jeremy Clarkson, is causing a national shortage in the U.K., putting the lives of diabetics at risk, The Daily Mail reports.
Off-Label Prescribing Fuels Shortage: The drug, marketed as Ozempic and used for managing blood glucose levels in Type 2 diabetes patients, has seen a rise in ‘off-label’ prescribing for weight loss. This has led to a shortage, making it difficult for diabetes patients to access their essential medication.
“These shortages have serious clinical implications in the management of patients with type 2 diabetes,” the Department of Health stated in a national patient safety alert.
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Regulatory Response: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working to ensure that diabetes patients can access these drugs or other clinically suitable alternatives.
“We stand ready to use our regulatory processes to minimize those risks,” said Dr Laura Squire of the MHRA.
A spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company behind Ozempic, echoed the sentiment, stating, “We do not promote, suggest, or encourage the off-label use or misuse of any of our medicines.”
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