WHO: Obesity Drugs May Add To The Essential Medicines List!

Obesity Drugs May Add To The Essential Medicines List

Obesity is becoming a growing concern. In the context of this, WHO is considering whether to add obesity medications to the essential medicines list. There has been a suggestion from a group of doctors from the United States in this regard.

The new drug of choice is liraglutide, which is known as Saxenda. Dive into the news to know about the hurdles and intricacies involved in the issue.

Obesity Drugs In The Essential Medicines List Of WHO

In September, WHO (World Health Organization) might consider the request to include obesity medications on the “essential medicines list”. The new change is being considered on the grounds of a request put forth by a group of doctors from the United States.

The current focus will be to include liraglutide, an active component in Saxenda, a weight loss medication. Saxenda is manufactured as a weight-loss therapy drug by the obesity drug business giant, Novo Nordisk. 

According to the spokesperson of WHO, obesity is a growing concern. Including obesity drugs in essential medicine can be a positive step taken in this direction. 

Obesity Drugs In The Essential Medicines List Of WHO

The recent data on obesity by WHO shows that around 650 million adults suffer from this condition worldwide. There has been a threefold rise in the data from 1975 and around 70% of the list comes from middle-income countries.

On the grounds of this critical situation, the World Health Organization has taken several approaches to combat this deadly obesity pandemic. The current regulation can be seen as a considerable step on this path.

Liraglutide, which is on the table for consideration, is an injectable medication usually prescribed for type 2 diabetes and chronic obesity. Like other weight loss drugs from Novo Nordisk, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide is also a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist.

Also read: B.C. To Limit Access To Ozempic To Non-Canadian Citizens Due To High Weight-loss Demand!

These classes of drugs work by enhancing insulin production in your body. The European Union approved the drug in 2009 and the United States legalized it for medicinal usage in 2010. By 2020, liraglutide had become 146th the most commonly used medication. 

Currently, the brand variation of the drug, Saxenda, is available in the market for $450 per month in the United States and $150 per month in Europe. Administered as a once-daily injection, it can decrease body weight by 5%-10%.

Dr. Sanjana Garimella from Yale New Haven Health, one of the applicants for the new policy, says there are no obesity drugs on the essential list by WHO now.  Even though some supplements offer to combat nutritional deficiencies, no specific drug to treat obesity has been considered.

That is why these researchers claim the inclusion of specific obesity drugs in the essential medicines list of WHO.

Experts predict that if the inclusion of Saxenda is authorized, it can further pave the way for other drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic. Both Ozempic and Wegovy were in the news for quite some time.

Among these drugs, Ozempic is prescribed as an anti-diabetic medication while Wegovy is legalized for weight loss. Both drugs are manufactured by Novo Nordisk. If weight loss drugs get included in the list, these medications will also be authorized by the World Health Organization.

But as these drugs have reported some side effects and cases of remission, how much of this new policy can be effective is still a baffling question.

Check out: Viking Therapeutics To Compete In The Obesity Drug Market!

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