Nov. 15, 2023 -- German regulator BfArM is considering a halt on the export of Ozempic because high demand is creating a scarcity of the drug, Reuters reports.
Use of the diabetes drug for weight loss has caused shortages across Europe. Other EU countries have banned Ozempic exports already, Reuters says, and the head of BfArM says he is discussing a ban with lawmakers.
BfArM – the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices – is the primary medical regulatory body in Germany.
A high-dose version, Wegovy for weight loss, was launched in Britain, Germany, Norway, and Denmark, but hasn’t helped with Ozempic demand because of Wegovy production issues.
"We are currently in talks with lawmakers about what we will do if the current measures and the public messages don't show an effect," BfArM President Karl Broich told Spiegel magazine.
"We would then think about imposing an export ban so that enough remains in the country for the patients that need it," said Broich.
“We need the drug for the care of diabetes patients and not as a lifestyle drug,” Broich added.
He said the drug was going to the U.S. and other European countries, as well.
Drug-marker Novo Nordisk said the industry can’t keep up with demand for weight-loss drugs around the world, although more drugs will be coming to market eventually.
Ozempic is approved for patients with type 2 diabetes. But it can also trigger weight loss, so some doctors have been prescribing it for that, causing increased demand.
“With supplies running short throughout Europe and Novo struggling to meet the mushrooming demand, some patients with type 2 diabetes are having difficulty finding treatment,” Fierce Pharma wrote.