Weight-loss jab Wegovy made available on NHS as manufacturer says stocks are limited | UK News

Weight-loss jab Wegovy is now available to NHS patients – but only through specialist weight management services. 

The weekly injection has been hailed as a wonder drug by those wanting to shed weight, from celebrities to obesity patients.

The NHS rollout of the drug will be limited to people needing medical help to lose weight.

Only patients with a BMI over 30, or more than 27 with one weight-related comorbidity, will be able to access the drug.

The drug, also known as semaglutide, will be prescribed alongside a reduced calorie diet and exercise from September 4.

Semaglutide works by mimicking the hormone GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide one) to manage hunger and slow down digestion.

It is also the active ingredient in Ozempic, which was the first of the weight loss jabs to blow up on TikTok.

Read more:
Ozempic to Wegovy: benefits and downsides
Wegovy supply issues as private clinics stockpile

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How does semaglutide work?

The National Institute for Care and Excellence (Nice) gave Wegovy the green light for NHS use earlier this year.

Its guidance said it should be used for a maximum of two years.

About 50,000 NHS patients in England could be prescribed Wegovy, an NHS spokesperson said.

But the drug is in short supply.

Wegovy manufacturer Novo Nordisk said it expects supply “to be constrained for the foreseeable future”.

A “proportion of available supply” has been allocated to NHS services.

“We will continue to work with healthcare professionals to help ensure that patients with the highest unmet medical need are prioritised,” the company said.

The drug will also be available privately, but the manufacturer has not disclosed how much this will cost.

In the US, the drug sells for as much as $1,350 (£1,070) a month.

The NHS has also been urged to use virtual platforms to prescribe weight loss drugs in future.

In draft guidelines, NICE recommended the use of four online platforms that allow specialists to provide virtual care to obesity patients, saying face-to-face settings were unable to meet demand.