Canadian province slows Ozempic sales to US: 4 updates

Eleven days after the domestic Ozempic shortage partially ended, an official in British Columbia said March 28 the province is limiting how much of the Type 2 diabetes drug its online pharmacies can sell to U.S. and other non-Canadian residents. 

According to a news release, 19 percent of Ozempic (semaglutide) orders in the province are from U.S. residents. It is an "unusually high percentage" as the average percentage for all other drugs is 4 percent. 

Canada has noted a shortage of the 1 milligram solution, and Minister of Health Adrian Dix said this action will prevent a shortage in the province. 

Here are three other updates on the drug, which has seen high demand because of its off-label use for weight loss:

1. Some patients who stop taking the drug may experience weight gain, CNBC reported March 29. About half of patients who stop taking Wegovy (semaglutide) — an obesity drug made by the company that makes Ozempic — will see a weight rebound within two to three years, data shows. The figure is similar for those who stop Ozempic use, according to CNBC

The product costs about $1,000 for a month's supply, according to GoodRx

2. On March 17, the FDA revised its entry of the national Ozempic shortage to return two solutions into an available status, one with "limited availability" until the end of March and another solution as discontinued. 

3. The high interest in these drugs has prompted multiple telehealth startups to spring up or reroute their efforts. The companies include Noom Clinical, NextMed, Calibrate, Found and Sequence, which WeightWatchers plans to acquire in a deal worth $132 million.

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