There’s a nationwide shortage of diabetes management drug Ozempic, but some cities far outpace the rest when it comes to how many prescriptions of the drug are being written.
Though Ozempic is officially used for treating diabetes, the use of the drug as a weight loss tool has exploded across social media and among celebrity circles over the last year, leading to demand far greater than manufacturer Novo Nordisk anticipated.
According to the FDA, 1 and 2 milligram doses of Ozempic are currently available, but the 0.25 mg and 0.5 mg injectable versions will remain in short supply until mid-March. Wegovy, a nearly identical drug made by Novo Nordisk for weight loss specifically, had faced supply issues last year, which contributed to consumers seeking out Ozempic.
With the ongoing shortage of Ozempic, Robert Gabbay, MD, PhD, chief science and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, told The Wall Street Journal Feb. 22 that physicians should prioritize prescriptions for diabetes patients.
According to data shared with Becker’s by Trilliant Health, the Phoenix metro area has seen the biggest rise in Ozempic prescriptions. CEO Hal Andrews said the rise in prescriptions does not correlate with a similar rise in local diabetes diagnoses, indicating that consumers are likely seeking out the drug for other uses.
The data is from Trilliant Health’s national all-claims database, which covers more than 300 million people and 2.5 million providers. It compares Ozempic prescriptions in the first quarter of 2022 to the same period a year prior. The national average rose 72 percent during that time.
Metro areas where Ozempic prescriptions have risen the most:
1. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale — 158 percent
2. Tupelo, Miss. — 157 percent
3. Decatur, Ala. — 149 percent
4. Manchester-Nashua, N.H. — 143 percent
5. Tucson, Ariz. — 130 percent
6. Tyler, Texas — 127 percent
7. Denver-Aurora — 122 percent
8. Flint, Mich. — 121 percent
9. Spokane, Wash. — 118 percent
10. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor — 117 percent
T-11. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif. — 116 percent
T-11. Huntington, W.Va.-Ashland, Ohio — 116 percent
13. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo. — 115 percent
14. San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas — 114 percent
T-15. New Haven-Milford, Conn. — 113 percent
T-15. Dothan, Ala. — 113 percent
17. Lexington-Fayette County, Ky. — 112 percent
T-18. Lake Charles, La. — 109 percent
T-18. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Ala. — 109 percent
T-18. Sioux Falls, S.D. — 109 percent