Ozempic is a drug that helps with appetite has seen uptake by people suffering from diabetes and has seen some supply problems.
That includes pharmacies being unable to stock the drug, which is already priced highly.
Pharmacy Manager for Souris Family Pharmacy Matthew Walliser explains why there've been so many people.
"Initially it was very positive news with the studies for diabetes, so it was prescribed often for that purpose. It has the benefits of blood sugar decreasing but also benefits for a reduced risk of heart disease and possibly even a reduction in kidney disease, so lots of positives with it. Then with the reduction in weight loss, it became more popular for that reason off-label."
Some of the supply issues have come in the form of different pens being available.
"It comes in two pens. So there's a smaller pen that's point-five milligrams per dose and that has four doses at the point-five milligrams in that pen and then there's the larger pen, that's one milligram per dose, so it's got four one milligram doses in each individual pen at that strength," said Walliser, "So both pens are the same price, and right now the one-milligram pens are what's not available. So people need to be changed to the point-five milligram pens and have to take two doses each time they need it so it only lasts them for two weeks instead of four."
The existing price is unlikely to decrease anytime soon, with another company potentially offering a generic version sometime in the future.
"It would be likely that a generic brand would be the only thing that would bring the price down at this point, and both the smaller pen, the point-five milligram, and the larger one-milligram pen are the same price right now," said Walliser, "Wo that's where a lot of the concern or complaints have been because they're paying twice as much for the lower dose pen that's only lasting in the same amount of time as the one-milligram pen would last them if they were able to get that for half the cost."
Walliser asks that people remain patient as they try to fix the supply issues as quickly as possible.
"I think right now everybody is pretty frustrated with it and that kind of goes across the board from patients who use it to pharmacies that are trying to get it in in for their patients. So everyone's working together to do the best we can to try to secure stock and keep everybody with their supply of the pens because they are really beneficial and they've been very helpful for a lot of people. So I guess I just ask for a little bit of patience while things get sorted out with the supply issue."
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