Novo Nordisk profits rise as Wegovy supplies increase

Novo Nordisk profits rise as Wegovy supplies increase

Novo Nordisk posted its highest annual profit in decades, helped by booming sales of diabetes and obesity drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, the company reported on Wednesday.

The Denmark-based drugmaker also said it is boosting supplies of Wegovy in the United States, which could alleviate ongoing shortages of the blockbuster obesity drug.

“We are now enabling more US patients to start treatment by more than doubling the amount of low strengths,” Doug Langa, executive vice president of Novo’s North American operations, said on a call with analysts. The company restricted initial doses to new patients last May to ensure there was sufficient supply for continuing patients.

Novo executives said Wednesday they plan to gradually increase supply throughout 2024, but their forecasts allow for periodic supply constraints. As of Wednesday, the FDA included semaglutide — the main ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy — on its deficiency list.

Novo and rival Eli Lilly have proven themselves leaders in what some Wall Street analysts expect will be the best-selling class of drugs ever — appetite-suppressing compounds known as GLP-1 drugs, which mimic a natural hormone-releasing hormone. Signal of fullness to the brain. The drugs are injected once a week, but the race is on to develop versions of them.

The boom in the Ozempic tradition led to the collapse of one pharmacy and its customers

Demand for the drugs was so hot that Novo struggled to produce enough of the drug, prompting the FDA to declare a shortage of semaglutide in March 2022. This designation opened the door for specialty pharmacies to make copies of the FDA-approved drug. And medicine, which supports the development of the industry of clinics and telehealth companies that sell versions made by pharmacies at a discount.

Novo achieved annual profits of 83.7 billion Danish kroner in 2023, an increase of 51 percent from the previous year and the equivalent of about $12 billion at current exchange rates. That marks the company’s largest annual net profit since 1989, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Ozempic alone accounted for 41 percent of Novo’s total sales in 2023, equivalent to more than $14 billion, with two-thirds of the drug’s sales coming from the United States. Wegovy had sales of about $4.5 billion.

“We are very pleased with the strong performance in 2023, reflecting that more than 40 million people are now benefiting from our innovative treatments for diabetes and obesity,” Novo CEO Lars Frørgaard Jørgensen said in a statement.

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