FACTBOX-Launches of Novo Nordisk's weight-loss drug Wegovy
A four-week supply of the maintenance dose costs 2,370.60 Danish crowns ($347). The public health care system in Denmark does not reimburse any weight-loss drugs and the country's largest private health insurer, which insures roughly half the country's population, will stop reimbursing weight-loss medication from January next year due to high demand.
Novo Nordisk is pushing ahead with the launches of weight-loss drug Wegovy in Europe and Japan, even as it struggles to keep up with demand.
The Danish drugmaker is working to convince European governments and insurers to reimburse the drug, seeking to position it as more than a lifestyle drug. Below are the countries where Wegovy has been launched so far: UNITED STATES Wegovy was launched in the U.S. in June 2021 but it took Novo until December 2022 to make all doses available there because of an initial production outage.
The list price of four-week treatment is about $1,350, regardless of dosage, not taking any coupons and rebates into account. The weekly injections are started at 0.25 milligrams of active ingredient semaglutide and gradually increased to the maintenance dose of 2.4 mg. DENMARK Wegovy was made available in all dose strengths in Denmark in early 2023. A four-week supply of the maintenance dose costs 2,370.60 Danish crowns ($347).
The public health care system in Denmark does not reimburse any weight-loss drugs and the country's largest private health insurer, which insures roughly half the country's population, will stop reimbursing weight-loss medication from January next year due to high demand. The Danish ministry of health has said reimbursing Wegovy would cost the state as much as $4 billion each year. NORWAY
In Norway, Wegovy was launched in all dose strengths in early 2023. The four-week supply of the maintenance dose costs 2,775.30 Norwegian crowns ($257). The Norwegian Medicines Agency said in January it would not subsidise the drug for treatment of obesity, saying the price would be too high in relation to the documented health effects. GERMANY
Wegovy was launched in Germany on July 29, priced at 301.91 euros ($329) for four weeks at a maintenance dose. The starter dose is priced at 171.92 euros for four weeks. The cost of the drug will not be reimbursed for about 90% of Germans covered by public health insurance plans, under a law that bans them from covering weight-loss drugs.
For the 10% with private health insurance, coverage varies. Insurer Allianz has said it would pay for the drug if the person treated is diagnosed with a medical need, while rival Debeka said its plans excluded weight-loss treatments. BRITAIN Wegovy was made available in Britain on Sept. 4, in what Novo called a "controlled and limited launch". The company has not specified the price or how much it would supply.
Simple Online Pharmacy, a UK-based online pharmacy chain, said it would sell Wegovy in the range of 199-299 pounds ($248-$373), including a consultation with a general practitioner, prescription and dispensing costs. Novo said the drug would be available both within the National Health Service's weight management scheme and "privately through a registered healthcare professional".
JAPAN Novo said on Nov. 23 it will launch Wegovy in Japan on Feb. 22, 2024.
Most patients in Japan will pay 30% of medical expenses for Wegovy, in line with reimbursement for other drugs, a spokesperson for the company said. The monthly cost for patients will be 7,504 Japanese yen ($50) for a 0.25 mg starter dose and 42,960 yen for a 2.4 mg dose, Novo said.
($1 = 6.8320 Danish crowns) ($1 = 10.7960 Norwegian crowns) ($1 = 0.9168 euros) ($1 = 0.8025 pounds) ($1 = 149.6200 yen)
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