UK Ministers Launch 40 Million Pounds Scheme for Weight Loss Injection Wegovy

Weight Loss Injection Wegovy

Ministers are launching a £40 million pilot scheme to trial wider access to the controversial slimming jab Wegovy, examining how people could receive the drug outside hospitals.

Currently, according to advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Wegovy is only provided through specialist weight management services, typically based in hospitals.

A lack of capacity in these services limits the drug to about 35,000 people at a time in England. The government is keen to look for a potentially broader rollout of the drug, which involves weekly injections said to help patients lose up to 15% of their body weight.

A less-regulated use of Wegovy, the UK brand name for the appetite suppressant Semaglutide manufactured by Danish company Novo Nordisk, could be contentious given recent concerns about the lasting effectiveness of the treatment.

Prescriptions are currently limited by NICE to two years because there is no data yet available on the drug’s long-term impacts. Side effects include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

The pilot will look into ideas such as GPs prescribing the drug or similar treatments and how wider support could be provided in the community or digitally to lessen pressure on hospitals.

Weight Loss Injection Wegovy (Photo: Jim Vondruska)

Wegovy is the first drug approved to target obesity in the UK, limited to adults with a BMI of at least 35 and one weight-associated condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

While obesity and its associated health effects significantly strain the NHS, costing £6.5 billion annually, it remains to be seen whether drug-based treatments can make a notable difference when years of effort involving diet- and lifestyle-based interventions have not.

Rishi Sunak said:

“Obesity puts huge pressure on the NHS. Using the latest drugs to support people to lose weight will be a gamechanger by helping to tackle dangerous obesity-related health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer;

Reducing pressure on hospitals, supporting people to live healthier and longer lives, and helping to deliver on my priority to cut NHS waiting lists.”

Sunak’s government has been accused, however, of being timid over more traditional means to combat obesity.

While there have been some measures, such as calorie labelling on some menus and limitations on the location of unhealthy foods in shops, there has been a delay to other measures, such as restrictions on multi-buy deals for unhealthy products and on the advertising of junk food.

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Categorized as Health

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