United States: The latest data shows that patients using Wegovy for obesity treatment experienced an average of 10 percent weight loss after four years of use in the United States. 

This sustained weight loss may bolster the case for insurers and governments to cover the cost of the effective but expensive drug. 

Additional Study Details 

Novo Nordisk, based in Denmark, presented new long-term data at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, Italy. This data was based on a new analysis of a large study, the main results of which were published last year. 

Martin Holst Lange, Novo’s head of development, stated, “This is the longest study we’ve conducted so far of semaglutide for weight loss,” as Reuters stated. 

He added, “We see that once the majority of the weight loss is accrued, you don’t go back and start to increase in weight if you stay on the drug.” 

Wegovy Delivers Lasting Weight Loss, Plus Heart Benefits. Credit | Getty Images
Wegovy Delivers Lasting Weight Loss, Plus Heart Benefits. Credit | Getty Images

Potential Impact on Insurers 

The data could influence reimbursement for insurers and governments. The monthly cost ranges from USD 200 to almost USD 2,000, based on data from the ten countries where it has been launched. 

Shares rose 1.1 percent at 12:28 GMT, reaching a two-month high. 

Analysts and investors believe the rise was likely driven by positive results from a final study on their hemophilia A drug, presented the previous week. 

Markus Manns, a portfolio manager at Union Investment in Germany and a Novo Nordisk shareholder, told Reuters that the data, better than a comparable drug from Roche, “unlocks another USD 2 billion opportunity” for the company. 

Dr. Simon Cork, who is a Senior Lecturer in Physiology from the Anglia Ruskin University, has to say about Britain’s choice to pay for the drug for only two years and only when the drug shows its effectiveness. He added, “It’s due to the fact that the long-term effectiveness of this medicine hasn’t been proven to be 100 percent to them”. 

A portfolio manager at Union Investment in Germany and a Novo Nordisk shareholder, Markus Manns, said that the data, which is better than the drug for the same disease from Swiss pharma company Roche, “unlocks another USD 2 billion opportunity” for the company. 

Markus Manns, a portfolio manager at Union Investment in Germany and a Novo Nordisk shareholder, told Reuters that the data, which is better than the drug for the same disease from Swiss pharma company Roche, “unlocks another USD 2 billion opportunity” for the company. 

Heart Benefits Revealed in the Study 

The study analyzed 17,604 patients using Wegovy, focusing not just on weight loss but also on ‘heart-protective’ effects, particularly for overweight and obese individuals already diagnosed with heart diseases without diabetes. 

Participants did not need to fill in journals on diet and workout as that was not the main focus of the obesity study. 

About 17 percent of trial participants discontinued Wegovy due to side effects, with nausea being the most common, according to a second analysis conducted by Novo in one of the trials published on Tuesday. 

The study found that Wegovy patients experienced an almost 10 percent reduction in weight after 65 weeks, with this percentage of weight loss remaining relatively constant annually. By the four-year mark, the company reported that the weight loss had reached 10.2 percent. 

Lange said, “We now also understand that while we know that body weight loss is important, it’s not the only thing driving the cardiovascular benefit of semaglutide treatment,” as Reuters reported. 

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