Could Wegovy’s cardiovascular label expansion be a catalyst for GLP-1 obesity drug coverage?

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The recent FDA approval of a cardiovascular risk reduction indication for Wegovy (semaglutide) could point toward a significant opportunity for pharma companies seeking to reshape payer perceptions and expand coverage for next-gen metabolic therapies. This regulatory shift, allowing Wegovy to be prescribed for reducing the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke in addition to weight loss, aligns with mounting payer pressure to address the worsening obesity epidemic, which could impact 60% to 80% of the population of Western nations by the middle of the century. The dynamic has the potential to break down long-standing reimbursement barriers for effective yet costly medications.

Payers reckoning with the complex economics of obesity

There were already signs of change. While around 25% of employers provided coverage for GLP-1 drugs like Wegovy and Ozempic …

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How Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy cardiovascular benefits could drive further growth

Semaglutide was already one of the best-selling drugs of recent memory. And Novo Nordisk the fastest-growing Big Pharma firm. Now, the FDA’s decision to expand the label of its weight-loss version of the drug to include cardiovascular benefits could help unlock more growth momentum for Novo Nordisk. This positions Wegovy as the first weight-loss medication also cleared for reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart-related death in at-risk individuals. The approval, based on a 17,600-patient SELECT study demonstrating a 20% lower risk of cardiac events with Wegovy versus placebo, could have a material impact on sales. The study also found that patients lost an average of 15% of their weight.

The expanded FDA label sanctions the use of Wegovy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke in adults with cardiovascular disease who are obese or overweight. This marks a significa…

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Novo Nordisk achieves 74% growth surge, clinching fastest-growing pharma title

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No longer just a diabetes company, Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide-based therapies have fueled its rise to pharma powerhouse status. From 2021 to 2023, the company cemented its position as the fastest-growing Big Pharma player, reaching a 35% year-over-year growth rate in 2023 and 74% growth from 2020 to 2023 when measured in U.S. dollars. While Pfizer saw even more explosive growth (94%) in 2021 (see second graph below), the trajectory was not sustainable leading to a 41.69% drop in 2023.

The strong demand for Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide-based products Ozempic, Rybelsus, and Wegovy fueled the company’s rapid growth. In 2023, sales of obesity care products, including Wegovy, skyrocketed by 154% to DKK 41.6 billion ($6.0 billion). The 24% sales increase in the diabetes care segment, amounting to DKK 173.5 billion ($25.2 billion) in 2023, was heavily driven by the growth of GLP-1-based pr…

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An overview of the GLP-1 landscape in obesity therapeutics

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The GLP-1 drug market continues to boom lately thanks to highly effective new medications like Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and continued demand for the drug class in diabetes. The runaway success of Wegovy and Ozempic (both formulations of semaglutide) has caused Novo Nordisk’s share price to skyrocket in 2023, briefly making the Danish pharmaceutical company the most valuable in Europe by market capitalization. Novo Nordisk’s growth has even exceeded Denmark’s entire economic output.

Far-ranging GLP-1 landscape projections

Given the massive potential of the obesity drug market, with projections ranging from Goldman Sachs’ $44 billion to Barclays’ $100 billion by 2030, Big Pharmas such as Novo Nordisk and Lilly are engaging in billion-dollar acquisitions of smaller biotechs with promising obesity pipelines.

At present, Novo Nordisk is having troubling ke…

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Novo Nordisk faces Wegovy supply challenges in US

Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) announced that one of its contract manufacturers filling syringes for its Wegovy (semaglutide) pens in the U.S. market has temporarily ceased manufacturing following Good Manufacturing Practices problems.

The company projects it will be unable to meet U.S. demand for the drug in the first half of 2022 and that use of the drug will likely be constrained to a limited number of patients.

NVO shares dipped 8.21% to $107.45 today.

Novo Nordisk anticipates a resolution of the supply shortage by the second half of 2022.

The obesity drug Wegovy is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist indicated for patients with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) with at least one weight-related comorbidity.

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