Obesity drug's heart-protective properties spark weight-loss stock surge | World News - Hindustan Times
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Weight-loss medications make hearts happy - Obesity drug's heart-protective properties spark weight-loss stock surge

Aug 09, 2023 11:02 PM IST

Weight-loss stock surge after Novo Nordisk's study reveals heart benefits of obesity drug Wegovy. 20% reduced risk in heart events, shares rise.

Weight-loss stocks surged following a groundbreaking study that unveiled the potential heart-protective benefits of the popular obesity drug Wegovy. Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk released new clinical data on Tuesday, demonstrating that obese patients with a history of heart disease who took a weekly 2.4 - milligram dose of Wegovy were 20% less likely to experience a stroke or heart attack.

Packets of Wegovy move along a conveyor at the Novo Nordisk A/S production facilities in Hillerod, Denmark, on Monday, June 12, 2023. Novo's blockbuster obesity medicine Wegovy reduced the risk of heart attacks and strokes in a highly anticipated study, buoying shares of the Danish drugmaker and the US maker of a potential rival treatment, Eli Lilly & Co.(Bloomberg)
Packets of Wegovy move along a conveyor at the Novo Nordisk A/S production facilities in Hillerod, Denmark, on Monday, June 12, 2023. Novo's blockbuster obesity medicine Wegovy reduced the risk of heart attacks and strokes in a highly anticipated study, buoying shares of the Danish drugmaker and the US maker of a potential rival treatment, Eli Lilly & Co.(Bloomberg)

The news catapulted Novo Nordisk's shares by a staggering 17% to reach $189.17, a surge that had a ripple effect across the pharmaceutical industry. Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of the weight-loss drug Mounjaro, experienced a 15% boost in its shares, reaching $521.60. Even health lifestyle group Weight Watchers, known for its foray into telehealth and weight-loss medication, saw a 13% increase in its shares, which settled at $9.

The remarkable outcomes emerged from Novo Nordisk's highly anticipated "SELECT" clinical trial, which spanned five years and monitored over 17,500 obese or overweight adults with a history of cardiovascular disease. Those who received a weekly 2.4 mg dose of Wegovy exhibited a remarkable 20% reduction in major heart events, including heart attacks, strokes, and heart-related deaths, compared to those who were administered a placebo.

"This breakthrough is a game-changer for people living with obesity and a history of heart disease. It's the first time we're seeing effective weight management intertwined with reduced cardiovascular risks," highlighted Martin Holst Lange, Vice President for Development at Novo Nordisk.

The success of Wegovy has spurred plans for Novo Nordisk to apply to the FDA this year, aiming to expand the drug's usage beyond treating diabetes and obesity to encompass heart disease as well. Analysts have praised this development, asserting that it underscores the medical necessity of such treatments, moving them beyond cosmetic considerations.

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Novo Nordisk, however, faces a challenge in meeting the growing demand for Wegovy. The company issued a supply update in July, cautioning that patients might encounter difficulties obtaining low-dose prescriptions of the drug until September.

While the study results are promising, it's important to note that in July, the European Medical Agency initiated an investigation into reports of potential suicidal thoughts as a side effect of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy. As the medical community continues to explore the broader implications of these findings, the spotlight remains firmly on the potential for Wegovy to revolutionize weight loss and heart health for countless individuals.

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