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Ozempic (semaglutide) supply update
This alert is no longer current and updated advice is available at About the Ozempic (semaglutide) shortage 2022 and 2023.
The availability of Ozempic (semaglutide) in Australia continues to improve and the supplier, Novo Nordisk, anticipates steady ongoing supply. However, due to the ongoing significant demand, Ozempic will remain listed as in shortage on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Medicine Shortage Reports Database until 31 December 2023.
After meeting with the TGA in mid-June, Novo Nordisk and other organisations representing health professionals and patient groups have recommended that prescriptions for Ozempic should continue to be limited to the registered Australian indications. Ozempic is indicated for treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes, in conjunction with diet and exercise, when it is not sufficiently controlled with other medicines. In an update to previous advice, Ozempic can now also be prescribed for patients who meet these criteria and have not received it previously. This advice will help patients who are initiated on Ozempic to continue their treatment without interruption.
Key obesity professional organisations, including the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS), the National Association of Clinical Obesity Services (NACOS), and The Collective for Action on Obesity, have been involved in ongoing discussions as the shortage has progressed.
Decisions to encourage limiting the use of a medicine to a particular condition during a shortage are difficult, and not intended to imply that other conditions are not important.
You can go to the About the Ozempic (semaglutide) shortage 2022 and 2023 page for comprehensive information about this shortage.
The TGA and Novo Nordisk continue to monitor supply and demand of Ozempic in Australia. Any supply updates will be published on the TGA website.
Please also note that Wegovy, which is a brand of semaglutide indicated for the management of obesity, is still not available in Australia. You can email Novo Nordisk at: firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about Wegovy.
Information for consumers
If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but were unable to start treatment with Ozempic because of the shortage, or have switched to other glucose-lowering medicines during the shortage, please consult your health professional for advice.
If you have previously been prescribed Ozempic ‘off-label’ (for a health condition other than type 2 diabetes) on a private script, please be aware that health professionals have been asked to direct current supplies of Ozempic to people with type 2 diabetes who satisfy set approved criteria. If you have a prescription for Ozempic written to treat other conditions, also known as a private or non-Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) script, your pharmacist may inform you that they are not able to fill it until the shortage is anticipated to end on 31 December 2023. Patients are encouraged to contact their prescriber for appropriate ongoing management.
The TGA recognises Ozempic is used to treat other chronic health conditions such as obesity, and that obesity is a serious chronic disease that is challenging to manage. Decisions to encourage limiting the use of a medicine to a particular condition during a shortage are difficult, and not intended to imply that other conditions are not important.
Information for prescribers
Health professional organisations, including the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) have advised prescribers that Novo Nordisk has notified TGA that there is sufficient Ozempic supply for the TGA-registered indication of management of type 2 diabetes not adequately controlled by other medicines, in conjunction with diet and exercise. This includes the initiation of new patients who meet these criteria.
Current stock levels of Ozempic may not accommodate off-label prescribing for other chronic conditions such as obesity. Prescribers are asked to consider this when prescribing Ozempic for their patients and should continue to consider alternatives to semaglutide, given that supply will remain unstable for some time.
Information for pharmacists
Pharmacists should continue to allocate supply to patients prescribed Ozempic for the management of type 2 diabetes to assist with treatment continuity. At this stage there is adequate supply of Ozempic for these patients, but stock shortages may continue with increased demand due to off-label prescribing for use in the management of obesity.
If stock of Ozempic is limited, pharmacists should allocate supplies to patients who have been unable to switch to other medicines during the shortage.
Patients who were switched to other glucose-lowering medicines during the shortage but still hold a valid prescription for Ozempic should be referred to their prescriber for advice.
Adverse event reporting
If you think you or someone you care for may be experiencing a side effect after using Ozempic or any other medicine, please seek advice from a health professional as soon as possible. You can report adverse events of any medicine or vaccine via the TGA Adverse Event Reporting portal.