Weight-loss frenzy leaves Eli Lilly’s diabetes drug in short supply again

By Emma Court | Bloomberg

Some dosages of Eli Lilly & Co.’s Mounjaro are again in shortage, the latest in a line of recurring supply issues caused by patients using the diabetes medication as a weight-loss treatment.

The latest shortage will result in “intermittent backorders” for three of six doses through July, according to an update posted by the US Food and Drug Administration on its website on Friday.

Lilly spokespereson Jessica Thompson said the backorders were “due to continued dynamic patient demand” and would affect the three highest doses of Mounjaro. She also said the company is investing in expanding manufacturing capacity.

“We recognize this situation may cause a disruption in people’s treatment regimen, and we are moving with urgency to address it,” she said.

Mounjaro, also known as tirzepatide, was approved in the US last year to help patients with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Lilly is also seeking FDA approval for Mounjaro as an obesity treatment. In trials, the drug helped patients lose as much as 50 pounds. The remarkable results of Mounjaro and similar drugs like Novo Nordisk A/S’s Ozempic and Wegovy, have led to a frenzy, stoked in part by social media, among people trying to lose weight.

Pharmaceutical companies making these drugs say they are seeing such high demand that they cannot meet it. Mounjaro was previously in shortage for about two months earlier this year. Other drugs have also seen supply issues, including Novo’s Wegovy.

“Right now we have the unique situation of having a product so useful we can’t make enough of it,” Lilly CEO David Ricks said on a late April call with investors. “I suspect this whole category will have supply pressure for some time.”

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