¡Que Onda Magazine!

Houston's oldest bilingual publication

Shortages of Eli Lilly’s Weight Loss and Diabetes Drugs Expected to Persist Through The Summer

In an announcement that may cause concern among patients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed on Wednesday that the majority of doses for Eli Lilly’s popular weight loss medication Zepbound and its diabetes counterpart Mounjaro will remain in short supply throughout the second quarter of this year due to surging demand.

The shortage encompasses all variants of Zepbound and Mounjaro except for the 2.5-milligram formulations, exacerbating the challenges faced by individuals seeking these treatments. This update follows a previous notification indicating limited availability of some doses until April.

Despite concerted efforts by Eli Lilly and its primary competitor Novo Nordisk to ramp up production, the demand for these sought-after weight loss and diabetes drugs continues to outpace supply. These injectable treatments, known as incretin drugs, have witnessed a surge in demand for their ability to facilitate significant weight loss over time by mimicking gut hormones to suppress appetite and regulate blood sugar levels.

Eli Lilly, which aims to double its production capacity for incretin drugs by the end of 2023, affirmed its commitment to accelerating production efforts throughout the current year. Significant enhancements are anticipated in the latter half of the year, with projected production levels expected to surpass those of the second half of 2023 by at least 1.5 times.

The pharmaceutical giant also disclosed plans for a new manufacturing facility in Concord, North Carolina, slated to commence production by year-end, with products expected to be available for shipping in 2025. Additionally, Eli Lilly plans to establish several other facilities in the coming years, including a site in Germany and two new plants in its home state of Indiana.

Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk is undertaking similar initiatives to address shortages in its weight loss drug Wegovy and its diabetes medication Ozempic, both of which are also experiencing limited availability, according to information on the FDA’s website.

Efforts by both pharmaceutical companies underscore the persistent challenges faced by patients in accessing these crucial medications amidst soaring demand, highlighting the pressing need for sustained production expansions and supply chain optimizations. Eli Lilly has yet to provide comment on the FDA’s latest update.