Pharma companies eye weight-loss drugs for kids

Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk are working to get weight-loss drugs approved for children as young as 6, Bloomberg reported Oct. 20.

Eli Lilly has plans to test its diabetes drug Mounjaro in obesity patients 6 and older, a person familiar with the matter told the news outlet. The company recently started recruiting participants for a trial in kids 12 and older. 

"We are certainly committed to innovation in this space that's going to address all segments of the population that's affected," Nadia Ahmad, MD, vice president of medical development for obesity at Eli Lilly, told the news outlet. 

Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk is testing an older and less powerful version of its glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist drugs Ozempic and Wegovoy in kids 6 and older. If either were approved, they would be the first class of GLP-1s available to pediatric patients younger than 12.  

If and when they are approved, access would likely be an issue due to cost and hesitancy among providers. 

"There's been slow acceptance among doctors, which is typical for any new medication, especially among kids," Michelle Katzow, MD, a pediatric obesity physician at New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health, told Bloomberg. "General pediatricians don't want to take this on because there's still a lot of unknowns." 

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