UK to offer first weight loss med for diabetes prevention



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General

UK to offer first weight loss med for diabetes prevention

It is the first weight loss pharmacotherapy to be recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in certain groups of patients.



A positive reimbursement decision in the UK means that Novo Nordisk’s (NOV: N) Saxenda (liraglutide) will be available through the country’s national healthcare provider as a weight management treatment.

Saxenda is recommended alongside a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity, for certain obese adults with pre-diabetes and a high risk of cardiovascular disease.

It is the first weight loss pharmacotherapy to be recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in certain groups of patients.

The therapy was approved in this indication based on the results of the Phase III SCALE trial program, which showed superior weight loss compared with placebo.

At the end of the trial, people treated with Saxenda were less likely to have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, compared with placebo.

Novo Nordisk progress
Marketed as Victoza, liraglutide has long been a major revenue generator for Novo Nordisk, with 2018 sales at $2.7 billion and 2019 sales of around $3.5 billion.

However, with key patents due to expire and the increasing threat from generic competition, Novo's older GLP-1 agonist is finding a new and lucrative niche in the field of diabetes prevention via weight loss.

Launching in 2015, Saxenda now claims more than half of the global market for obesity treatments, with $852 million in revenue last year.

Meanwhile, the firm’s newer GLP-1 agonist, Ozempic (semaglutide) continues to grow its revenues, increasing by over 150% to $1.5 billion for the first two quarters of the year. An oral version, Rybelsus, is hot on its heels, with peak revenues in in excess of $5 billion forecast for 2026.

UK general manager Pinder Sahota said the decision was “testament to the value that this treatment offers, particularly during these challenging times, when policymakers and clinicians are highly focused on finding effective ways to address the prevalence of obesity across the UK.”



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