Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) said on Thursday that it would introduce its top-rated anti-obesity medicine, Wegovy, in Japan on February 22. This will be the company’s first launch in Asia, even though it is already struggling to meet demand in its present regions.
Even though obesity is far less prevalent in Japan than in Western countries, Danish business has decided to debut Wegovy in Japan as the sixth nation in the world.
According to Novo, which is attempting to convince certain governments to pay for Wegovy for the most overweight people, most patients in Japan will pay 30% of their medical expenditures for Wegovy. This is in line with reimbursement for other pharmaceuticals.
According to Novo, a 0.25-milligram beginning dosage will cost 7,504 Japanese yen ($50.15) per month for patients, while a 2.4-milligram dose would be 42,960 Japanese yen each month.
According to Novo, patients in Japan will be eligible for the medicine if they have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 or a BMI greater than 27 and have two or more obesity-related co-morbidities.
The percentage of the population that is overweight or obese is relatively low in Japan. According to the data provided by the Global Obesity Observatory, just 4.5% of adults in Japan were obese in 2019. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more.
Wataru Ogawa, a professor at Kobe University, said that he was “very positive” about the arrival of Wegovy in Japan since lowering the symptoms of being overweight can have advantages for a wide variety of medical illnesses. These conditions include some forms of cancer and menstrual abnormalities.
Even though there are fewer cases of severe obesity in Japan compared to many Western nations, detrimental health impacts tend to show in East Asian populations at lower degrees of obesity, he added. This is the case even if Japan has fewer cases of extreme obesity than many Western nations.
“Japanese people are fragile to a small increase in body weight as compared to Caucasians,” said Ogawa, who works as an executive director of the Japan Society for the Study of Obesity. “Japanese people are fragile to a small increase in body weight as compared to Caucasians.”
Novo has had trouble keeping up with the skyrocketing demand for the medicine that suppresses appetite. As a result, the company has been forced to restrict the number of countries where it has released the therapy and the number of patients who may begin treatment.
To this point, the firm has only introduced Wegovy to the markets of its home country of Denmark, the United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, and Norway.
Wegovy is the first medicine of its kind to be commercially available, and it belongs to an innovative and highly successful new family of diet pills. However, industry observers believe that Novo’s inability to meet demand might give Eli Lilly (LLY.N), Novo’s competitor, a competitive advantage when introducing its Mounjaro weight-loss medicine.