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Update on Wegovy (semaglutide) – June 2023
NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) welcomes the news that considerations are being given on how to expand weight management offers to people in England. Wegovy is not currently available for prescribing. This is likely to be rolled out as an initial pilot project and at this time we do not know which areas will be pilot sites. We greatly appreciate that demand for these medications is likely to be high and will work in the coming weeks to gain clarity of what is likely to be the offer.
As supplies of Wegovy have not yet been made available in the UK by the manufacturer, there has been an increase in demand for off label use of Ozempic and Rybelsus, which has led to shortages of these drugs to treat people with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic and Rybelsus are only licensed for Type 2 Diabetes and as such must only be used for patients with type 2 diabetes.
West Yorkshire ICB does not support the off-label use of Ozempic or Rybelsus for weight loss treatment.
We know that obesity is particularly prevalent in low Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) areas and those most in need may not be able to afford to self-fund such a medication, so we want to ensure our commissioning policy reflects this. We will work to keep you updated on timescales and more detailed plans as they develop.
Other information in case helpful
NHS medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said:
‘Tackling obesity is a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan – it can have devastating consequences for the nation’s health, leading to serious health conditions and some common cancers as well as resulting in significant pressure on NHS services. Pharmaceutical treatments offer a new way of helping people with obesity gain a healthier weight and this new pilot will help determine if these medicines can be used safely and effectively in non-hospital settings as well as a range of other interventions we have in place’.