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Diabetes medication shortage worsens


Matt Woodley


28/10/2022 4:49:52 PM

There is not expected be enough dulaglutide in Australia to fill all prescriptions for type 2 diabetes patients until at least early 2023, the TGA has warned.

Dulaglutide autoinjector.
Dulaglutide has been in short supply since July and it will likely be months before stocks return to normal levels.

Patients with type 2 diabetes managing the condition with dulaglutide (sold as Trulicity) have been advised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to see their doctor immediately, as supplies of the drug will be ‘limited’ until at least early next year.
 
Dulaglutide has been in short supply since July, but the situation has deteriorated to the point where Australia’s medicines regulator has indicated that the drug’s sponsor, Eli Lilly, cannot guarantee that pharmacies will receive enough stock to fill every patient’s script.
 
According to the TGA, the situation is closely related to the ongoing semaglutide (sold as Ozempic) shortage, which has had a knock-on effect to other medications. Semaglutide has been in high demand since the US Food and Drug Administration approved its use as a weight loss drug (Wegovy), with many high-profile celebrities and influencers promoting its effectiveness. 
 
The TGA says it is especially important for impacted patients to have their treatment reassessed in the lead up to the holiday season, when the supply of dulaglutide may be at its lowest and medical services will be limited for several weeks.
 
‘There is a range of medicines available to treat type 2 diabetes and your doctor will be able to advise you about the most appropriate treatment options for you,’ the TGA release states.
 
‘This medicine shortage is causing understandable frustration and anxiety throughout the community.
 
‘Please keep in mind that the health professionals at the medical practices and pharmacies you visit want the best possible health outcomes for everyone, but they do not control the availability of [dulaglutide].’
 
Type 2 diabetes patients have taken to social media to relay the toll the shortage is taking, with many saying their quality of life has diminished.

To help offset the shortage, the TGA has approved the supply of an overseas-registered dulaglutide product, which is the same as the Australian-registered version but ‘may be considerably more expensive’.
 
‘While the Australian-registered Trulicity is subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme [PBS], the overseas-registered product currently is not,’ the TGA states.
 
‘Even though the supplier of this overseas brand that has been approved … can apply to have it subsidised under the PBS, the TGA can’t force them to do so.’
 
The TGA is also reportedly meeting with semaglutide’s sponsor Novo Nordisk, medical colleges and health professional organisations about how to distribute the medication to those who need it most, in an effort to take the pressure off the supply of dulaglutide.
 
However, it does not anticipate improved access to semaglutide until early 2023, which will continue to impact dulaglutide supplies.
 
Those seeking more information related to the potential PBS listing of the overseas brand can contact the approval holder, Medsurge Healthcare, on 1300 788 261.
 
Pharmacists can also get more information and order the overseas brand by calling the same number.
 
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diabetes dulaglutide Ozempic semaglutide Trulicity Wegovy


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