Saxenda is now in low supply as Novo Nordisk issues a supply warning till 2023

Saxenda Shortage: What You Need to Know About Novo Nordisk’s Supply Warning

Due to a shortage of Novo Nordisk’s popular obesity medicine Wegovy, there has been a surge in demand for their first-generation weight-loss drug, Saxenda. Consequently, Novo Nordisk is now facing difficulties in handling the increased demand for Saxenda.

According to an update on the FDA’s drug shortage list posted recently, Saxenda will have limited availability until the end of 2023 due to the overwhelming demand. However, there are concerns that the shortage might extend beyond this year as well. The company’s spokesperson did not confirm whether the shortage of Saxenda will impact Victoza, a type 2 diabetes treatment that contains a lower dose of the same liraglutide ingredient used in Saxenda.

Liraglutide, the active ingredient in both Saxenda and Victoza, is a weaker GLP-1 agonist compared to Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide, used in Wegovy for weight reduction and Ozempic for diabetes. The increased demand for Ozempic, driven by individuals seeking an alternative for weight loss, has also led to shortages.

Novo Nordisk noticed a surge in demand for Saxenda around a year ago when Wegovy faced early manufacturing challenges. Sales of Saxenda skyrocketed, jumping 52% in 2022, reaching 10.7 billion Danish krones ($1.6 billion). The strong sales momentum continued into this year, with first-quarter sales reaching 3.3 billion Danish krones.

Given Saxenda’s limited supply, Novo Nordisk advises patients to consult their doctors for alternative treatment options. However, the problem lies in the fact that other existing obesity therapies also suffer from supply issues.

In response to the booming demand for Wegovy, Novo Nordisk temporarily reduced the US supply of low doses of the drug in an effort to limit the number of new patients and ensure existing patients can continue their treatment. The drug shortage list indicates limited availability of certain Wegovy doses through September.

To manage the demand, Novo Nordisk halted Wegovy marketing efforts and adjusted promotional strategies with healthcare professionals. Eli Lilly, another pharmaceutical company, faced similar constraints in supply for its Mounjaro, which is approved only as a diabetes treatment but has shown promising clinical data for obesity.

Both Novo Nordisk and Lilly are investing heavily in capacity expansions to address the situation. Novo Nordisk unveiled a plan to invest $2.58 billion in building new manufacturing facilities and expanding their site in Denmark, primarily to increase the capacity for making active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Additionally, Novo Nordisk pledged $2.3 billion to expand manufacturing at another site in Denmark to accommodate future medicine production. On the other hand, Lilly announced an investment of $1.6 billion to expand their manufacturing sites, totaling $3.7 billion, in the largest single-site investment in the company’s history.

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