Diabetic patient Stephen Bonner says people with diabetes are struggling to get the medication they need because of a nationwide shortage.
“This is life or death,” said Bonner.
Bonner says he’s been waiting for his Type 2 diabetic medication to be refilled.
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“The supervisor came back and said it’s on backlog,” Bonner said.
He’s talking about the popular drug Ozempic, an injectable that treats Type 2 diabetes by regulating a patient’s blood sugar.
“Without that, I won’t live,” he said.
Several metro area pharmacies say the drug is on backlog, in both .25mg and 2 mg forms.
The manufacturer of the drug says the backlog is due to non-diabetic patients being prescribed the medication for weight loss.
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Medical professionals say there’s been an increase in prescriptions being written to help with weight loss after a Tik Tok about the drug’s benefits went viral.
“I think that’s totally wrong, for those doctors to prescribe that for weight loss and use it up for people who really direly need it,” Bonner said.
Bonner says the drug allows him to take just one shot of Ozempic a week compared to four shots of insulin daily. The Georgia Department of Health reports that just over one million Georgians are living with diabetes.
Novo Nordisk, the company that manufactures Ozempic, said in a statement on their website that they don’t agree with the drug being used for weight loss treatment.
However, the Federal Drug Administration allows doctors to still prescribe the drug for weight loss under a practice called “off label.” It means certain certain FDA-approved drugs can be used for medical needs other than the original intent of the medication.
Novo Nordisk says they’re ramping up production to have the drug back on the shelves before the end of the year.
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The company says there are no generic forms of this drug.
The pharmaceutical company that owns Ozempic also produces a similar diabetic called Wegovy. Wegovy was approved by the FDA to be used as a weight loss drug. Novo Nordisk says this drug is also low on supply.
“What are diabetics to do when they run out of this drug, and they have to go backwards and start taking all of these shots all over again?” Bonner asked.
Novo Nordisk released the following statement to Channel 2 Action News:
“We are currently experiencing intermittent supply disruptions on various doses of Ozempic® due to the combination of incredible demand coupled with overall global supply constraints. While product continues to be manufactured and shipped, patients in some areas of the country will experience delays. We are making both short and long-term investments to solve for these temporary challenges. Anyone concerned with continuity of treatment should contact their healthcare provider.”
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