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Business News/ Companies / News/  Novo’s $1,000 Ozempic drug for diabetes treatment can be made for less than $5 a month, says study
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Novo’s $1,000 Ozempic drug for diabetes treatment can be made for less than $5 a month, says study

Research reveals that the manufacturing cost of Ozempic is significantly lower than its selling price of $1,000 per month. The study emphasizes the excessive pricing of GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic, impacting patients' access due to affordability issues in the US market.

A counterfeit Novo Nordisk A/S Ozempic pen at a warehouse operated by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in London, UK. (Bloomberg)Premium
A counterfeit Novo Nordisk A/S Ozempic pen at a warehouse operated by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in London, UK. (Bloomberg)

Diabetes drug Ozempic, priced at $1,000, could be manufactured for less than $5 a month, a new study has suggested.

Novo Nordisk charges close to $1,000 per month for the Ozempic injection before insurance in the US market. However, the blockbuster drug's manufacturing cost is much lower than its selling price.

Researchers at Yale University, King's College Hospital in London, and nonprofit Doctors Without Borders have raised the question about the hefty price tag of the drug, Bloomberg news agency reported.

Can weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy treat other diseases?

Ozempic is a once-weekly injectable medication used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Although not officially a weight loss drug, research suggests that people who take Ozempic may lose modest amounts of weight while on the medication.

The demand for Ozempic has soared in the US over the last year but the patients are unable to afford the drug as more insurers drop them from their plan due to its cost.

The study found that the biggest cost in producing Ozempic is not the active medicine, called semaglutide, but the disposable pens used to inject it. They can be made for no more than $2.83 per month’s supply, as per the researchers. One Ozempic pen is used weekly and lasts a month, the report added. The active drug used in making Ozempic is about $0.029 for a month's supply, the research found. Other costs include those of filling each pen, estimated at $0.020 per monthly dose, and other chemical ingredients, which the study estimates at $0.015 per monthly dose.

Novo Nordisk pays $25.8 million to promote its obesity drug

The study highlighted the grave issue of the price tag of GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy-a drug against obesity. As per the study, Ozempic can be produced for less than various forms of insulin per month, a lifesaving diabetes drug that’s been available for decades.

Weight-loss drugs may reduce the appeal of alcoholic drinks

In 2023, Novo Nordisk's combined sales of Ozempic and Wegovy topped $18 billion. The patency linked to drugs is likely to expire in June 2033 as per Bloomberg report.

The study has come after several US drugmakers, including Novo slashed US prices for some forms of insulin by as much as 75% in 2023 under Biden administration's pressure.

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Published: 28 Mar 2024, 09:43 AM IST
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