Danish pharmaceutical titan Novo Nordisk has applied to China’s drug regulator to widen the range of use of its diabetes medicine Ozempic. In the US Ozempic is also used as a miracle weight-loss drug.
Although no details were given, market observers suspect that the additional medical indication will be directed towards obesity.
Novo Nordisk’s application to broaden the use of its diabetes injection semeglutide in China is said to have been accepted. The Center for Drug Evaluation of the National Medicine Product Administration said on June 3.
Ozempic was given the greenlight in China in April 2021 to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes.
In China the drug is used in injected-form, but Novo Nordisk is starting to introduce it in tablet form in other countries.
The drug has been taking the US by storm as a weight-loss drug under the name Wegovy. As a result, sales have trebled from DKK4.5 billion (USD645.7 million) a year earlier to DKK6.2 billion (USD900 million).
But the high demand has caused the drug to sell out, resulting in diabetes patients being unable to buy it. In March, the European Medicines Agency asked doctors to prioritize the supply for diabetic patients over obese patients.
Weight-loss clinical trials of semeglutide tablets are being planned in China, but recruitment of volunteers has not started yet.