KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – People who need the Type 2 diabetes drug, Ozempic, are scrambling to find it.
The injectable drug was created to lower blood sugar, but doctors have started prescribing the medication for weight loss. The demand has skyrocketed.
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“You can use it even if you’re not a diabetic for the appetite suppression purposes and still not have any issues with having low blood sugars,” said Endocrinologist Dr. Rachel Morgan.
Mac’s Pharmacy sees the supply problem first-hand. “It’s a challenge when you have patients expecting to get their medicine every month, and we can’t get it,” Pharmacist Kristi Hawn said.
The problem began when an almost identical drug, WeGovy, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2022.
Demand for WeGovy outweighed the supply, so doctors turned to Ozempic.
“The manufacturers that make these diabetic medications weren’t expecting to go into the obesity medicine market. They didn’t realize kind of the can of worms that was being opened up,” said Dr. Morgan.
“It’s been a snowball effect. One goes out of stock, and then they trickle down,” said Hawn.
Novo Nordisk, the drug manufacturer, said the shortages are due to the combination of high demand and global supply constraints.
Pharmacists hope the supply stabilizes soon.
“I did check this morning, and all the strengths of Ozempic are available to order for us, so that’s an improvement, but that could change tomorrow,” Hawn said.
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