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 Wegovy weight-loss drug infographic
Graphic shows timeline of Novo Nordisk’s rise to Europe’s most valuable company.


Wegovy weight-loss frenzy

By Duncan Mil

September 6, 2023 - Blockbuster weight-loss drug Wegovy is the brand name of semaglutide, which mimics the action of a hormone that makes people feel full, so they eat less.

Shares of the Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk have soared 40% this year, boosted by skyrocketing demand for its weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy.

At the close of trading Monday, Novo Nordisk had a market capitalization of 2.96 trillion Danish krone ($428 billion).

Ozempic and Wegovy are drugs developed to treat type 2 diabetes that contain the same active ingredient -- semaglutide, a GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) -- which clinical trials have shown can help people lose 15% of their body weight after less than 16 months.

On Monday, Novo Nordisk also announced that Wegovy would now be available in the UK “through a controlled and limited launch.”

“This new generation of medicines [has] the potential to be a game-changer,” UK Health and Social Care Minister Steve Barclay posted on social media site X.

Used for long-term weight management, Wegovy’s high cost -- about $1,350 per month in the U.S. -- can make it unaffordable for many patients unless their insurance covers it.

Novo Nordisk has made almost 49 billion Danish krone ($7 billion) in profit over the first six months of this year, up 30% from the same period in 2022.

PUBLISHED: 06/09/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images