Wegovy maker Novo Nordisk sues Florida pharmacies over copycat drugs

Wegovy

Wegovy maker Novo Nordisk sues Florida pharmacies over copycat drugs

July 6 (Reuters) – Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) on Thursday accused three Florida pharmacies of illegally selling products claiming to contain semaglutide, the active ingredient in the Danish drugmaker’s weight loss and diabetes drugs Wegovy, Ozempic and Rybelsus.

In three separate lawsuits in Florida federal court, Novo Nordisk sought orders barring TruLife Pharmacy, Brooksville Pharmaceuticals and WellHealth Inc from selling the products, and seeking unspecified money damages. The three defendants are compounding pharmacies, which make custom drug preparations for customers.

The pharmacies could not immediately be reached for comment.

Novo Nordisk is the only company with approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell semaglutide drugs. It said that the pharmacies are selling new drugs without FDA approval and claiming to compete with Novo Nordisk’s approved drugs, violating federal and state law.

Novo Nordisk said in the lawsuits that selling drugs without going through the FDA approval process gave the pharmacies an “unfair competitive advantage.”

“Worse, it puts patients at risk by exposing them to drugs that have not been shown to be safe or effective,” the company said.

The lawsuits come about two weeks after Novo Nordisk filed similar claims against U.S. medical spas and wellness clinics.

Wegovy is approved for weight loss, while the other two drugs are approved for diabetes. However, Ozempic saw a supply shortage earlier this year due to high demand, driven by prescriptions to non-diabetic patients seeking to lose weight.

The FDA in May warned in public guidance about the safety risks of unauthorized versions of Novo Nordisk’s popular weight-loss drugs in response to reports of adverse health reactions to custom-made versions.

Barclays estimates the global market of weight-loss therapies could be worth as much as $100 billion in the next 10 years, with most of the benefit accrued to early leaders, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly (LLY.N).

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Jamie Freed

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: Reuters