Government BANS export of ‘miracle’ fat-fighting drugs like Ozempic amid unprecedented global demand
- Millions of overweight Brits could be given semaglutide in the future
- READ MORE: Everything you need to know about weight loss jab Wegovy
Blockbuster weight loss drugs such as Ozempic can no longer be exported from Britain under Government efforts to shore up supplies.
The immediate blanket ban on wholesalers also affects Wegovy, hailed as a major breakthrough in the war on obesity.
Millions of overweight Brits could get semaglutide – the generic name for both fat-fighting injections – in the future.
However, the drug is not yet widely available in Britain due to supply constraints. It will eventually be available on the high street.
Semaglutide, dubbed Hollywood’s worst-kept secret, suppresses appetite, helping people lose up to a fifth of their weight.
A medic who ballooned to 20st and had ‘nothing to lose’ told how the fat-busting jab helped him shed 5st. Alex Guevara, 46, (pictured) is a paramedic practitioner from Milton Keynes. He has three children and lives with his wife Christina, 29. He said: ‘When a friend told me about semaglutide I felt I had nothing to lose. I went to a private clinic and paid £250 a month for six months’
Millions of overweight Brits could be given semaglutide – the generic name for both fat-fighting injections – in the future. Ozempic is one type of semaglutide
Actresses are rumoured to being using the injections to stay as skinny as possible. Even Elon Musk has credited the drug for helping him lose weight.
Experts say the drug’s phenomenal success has driven a TikTok-fuelled stampede — with stocks now running dry across the world.
Department of Health chiefs have now added all forms of semaglutide to its parallel export ban list.
It means wholesalers are not allowed to buy stocks to sell them abroad, where they can drastically up the price.
Any company which breaches the export ban faces a punishment, handed out by the medicines watchdog.
Similar happened during the HRT crisis, when menopause-busting drugs were in short supply, and in the early days of the pandemic.
Dulaglutide, exenatide and liraglutide – which all work in the same way as semaglutide – are also on the export ban.
Ana McKenna (pictured before and after the drug) told DailyMail.com she plans to stop using Wegovy after reaching her weight loss target. She lost 50lbs
Staci Rice, 40, from Georgia, (pictured) lost 50 pounds in six months while on Wegovy
Ashton Olivia Smith, 33, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, shared before and after photos of her 40lb weight loss on TikTok after taking the drug for nearly a year and a half. The mother-of-four said: ‘If you’re looking for a sign to start Wegovy/Ozempic, HERE IT IS!’
Despite being hailed as a miracle, trials have shown that semaglutide users can rapidly pile pounds back on once they stop taking it.
Some patients have told of how they have had to stop taking the drug due to side effects. Users commonly complain of nausea, constipation and diarrhoea after taking the medication.
It has also been known to make food less appealing, potentially ruining the enjoyment of eating altogether.
Patients have also warned of their face appearing gaunt, exhausted and old — a side effect that has been labelled ‘Ozempic face’.
There have also been some reports from America of patients who have used the weight loss jab having their hair start to fall out in clumps.
Officials expect Wegovy to be rolled out in the coming weeks after it was approved for weight loss earlier this year.
Novo Nordisk chose to ramp up production before making it available in Britain, with labs working 24/7.
It was blindsided by a massive wave of demand when Wegovy launched in the US in 2021, triggering a wave of shortages.
Despite being hailed as one of the most powerful pharmaceutical tools to date, experts have warned it is not a ‘magic pill’ or miracle fix all. Trials have shown that users can rapidly pile pounds back on once they stop taking the fat-fighting drug and it can trigger a variety of nasty side effects. Users commonly complain of nausea, constipation and diarrhoea after taking the medication
It works to suppress hunger by mimicking hormones indicating that the body is full. It also shows the passage of food through the stomach by reducing the production of stomach acid and contractions of the muscle
A UK study found that people who used Wegovy experienced rapid weight loss, dropping 18% of their weight over 68 weeks. They regained two-thirds of that weight, or 12% of their original body weight in the year after dropping the weekly injections. Experts says the drug needs to be used over a lifetime to keep off the pounds
Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson (left) revealed he was taking Ozempic, a brand of semaglutide, in a bid to lose weight. When asked in October whether following a healthier diet or hitting the gym was behind his 30lb (13.6kg) weight loss, Elon Musk (right) credited ‘fasting’ and ‘Wegovy’
Comedian and TV host Chelsea Handler (left) revealed she took the drug after being prescribed it by her doctor — but said it made her nauseous. TikTok star Remi Bader (right) revealed that she was prescribed Ozempic by her doctor in 2020 ‘before it was trendy’
Elon Musk (left) credits his spectacular weight loss in 2020 to Wegovy. The tech tycoon looked noticeably slimmer when he first arrived in Twitter HQ after purchasing the company in October (right)
Ozempic, Wegovy’s sister drug, has also been affected by supply issues. Although only licensed for type 2 diabetics, some patients have accessed the drug — a slightly weaker version — to help them lose weight.
NHS figures show that 64 per cent of British adults are overweight, with more predicted to grow fatter in the future.
In a bid to tackle obesity and cut waiting lists, the NHS is launching a two-year pilot scheme to explore ways to make obesity medication available outside hospital.
It will see semaglutide injections given to tens of thousands.
Ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week revealed he took the ‘wonder drug’.
Writing in his first column for the Daily Mail, Johnson told how he hoped it would stop his late-night ‘fridge raids for cheddar and chorizo’.
However, he admitted it ‘didn’t work for me’.
How the weight loss medications compare
Average weight lost: 15.6kg over 72 weeks
Price: It is estimated it could cost around £900 in the UK (or about $1,000 in the US) per month
Manufacturer: Eli Lilly and Co
How it is taken: Jab
Side effects: Nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting
Average weight lost: 14.1kg over 10 months
Price: £9.65 per NHS prescription. In the US has a list price of $1,349.02. However, most people don’t pay list price if they have health insurance.
Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk
How it is taken: Jab
Side effects: Nausea, constipation, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, dizziness
Average weight lost: 10.3kg over 52 weeks
Price: £9.65 per NHS prescription. In the US it can cost around $700 for 90 capsules – a month’s supply
How is it taken: Tablet
Side effects: Fatty or oily stools, stomach pain, frequent bowel movements, headaches, flu-like symptoms, bloating, fatigue
Average weight lost: 15.3kg over 68 weeks
Price: Private clinics in the UK can give clients Ozempic off-label for just under £200 per month currently. But it is also estimated it could cost up to around £1,000 per month (about $1,500 in the US)
Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk
How is it taken: Jab
Side effects: Stomach pain, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, fatigue, acid reflux
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