Novo Nordisk weight-loss drug Wegovy launched in Germany, first huge EU market By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The emblem of Danish multinational pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk is pictured on the facade of a manufacturing plant in Chartres, north-central France, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Guillaume Souvant/File Picture

By Ludwig Burger and Maggie Fick

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Novo Nordisk has launched blockbuster weight-loss drug Wegovy in Germany, its first huge European market, hoping Germans can pay a whole bunch of euros out of pocket for a drug that public medical health insurance plans are up to now barred from protecting.

The drug, proven to assist sufferers scale back physique weight by round 15% when used together with train and way of life modifications, is already accessible in america, however in Europe is up to now on sale solely in small markets Norway and Denmark.

“The primary sufferers have redeemed prescriptions in Germany,” a spokesperson for Novo confirmed on Saturday to Reuters, according to beforehand introduced plans to launch the drug there on the finish of July.

The Danish drugmaker’s share value has greater than doubled within the two years for the reason that drug debuted, turning Novo into Europe’s second-most-valuable listed firm after LVMH.

Medical doctors and sufferers in Germany have informed Reuters they anticipate excessive demand for the weekly injections, with many sufferers ready to tackle the price, beginning at 170 euros ($190) a month and rising to greater than 300 euros as therapy requires the dosage to extend.

Public medical health insurance plans, which cowl about 90% of Germans, is not going to foot the invoice, underneath a many years previous regulation that bars them from protecting weight-loss medicine.

For the ten% of Germans with personal medical health insurance, protection will differ. Amongst main suppliers, Allianz (ETR:) says it would pay if a doctor diagnoses a medical want, whereas Debeka mentioned its plans exclude weight-loss remedies.

Affected person advocates and physicians have welcomed the arrival of Wegovy in Germany, the place 18.5% of adults are overweight, above the European Union common of 16%.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s state public well being company, says illnesses linked to extra physique weight pose a substantial burden on well being and social safety methods.

Novo is ramping up manufacturing to satisfy hovering demand in america, the place the drug sells for as a lot as $1,350 a month. It says it would intently monitor prescriptions in Germany to make sure entry for individuals with weight problems, however it can not not rule out provide delays.

In Germany, Wegovy shall be administered with the identical injection pen utilized in Norway and Denmark, completely different from the one utilized in america, to keep away from hitting provides there.

Wegovy’s introduction in Germany will stir debate in a nation the place the well being care system has usually handled weight problems as a life-style alternative moderately than a power illness.

Medical doctors say many Germans looking for to drop some weight have already used Ozempic, a diabetes drug additionally made by Novo that may be a decrease dose model of the identical ingredient as Wegovy.

Physicians have anxious that provides can be strained by non-obese individuals looking for “vainness” prescriptions – a priority mirrored in a Novo assertion in mid-July saying physicians ought to “prescribe responsibly”.

($1 = 0.8984 euros)

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