Diabetes patients struggle to find Ozempic due to its popularity as weight loss drug

ByJamiese Price KGO logo
Friday, November 10, 2023
Raleigh couple shares struggles of finding Ozempic amid shortage
A Wake County couple struggles to find their diabetes medication after the demand increases by people using it to lose weight.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Michael Batchelor and his wife Charity are both living with Type 2 diabetes. Lately, it's been increasingly difficult to get their hands on Ozempic, a medication designed to help them.

Ozempic is a weekly injection prescribed by a physician to help lower patient's blood sugar.

"They say it's a national back order. It's on backorder everywhere," Batchelor said.

Ozempic started becoming hard to get in January and it hasn't gotten better.

"It started probably the first part of this year. It took them a little longer to normally get it and that it wasn't in stock. They had to order it and then in June, it got a little more difficult," Batchelor said.

He said by the time October hit, the problem had peaked.

"They told me they'd be lucky to get it by the first of the year."

The FDA lists the higher dosage of Ozempic as "limited availability through 2023." The makers of the medication said the shortage in supply is partly due to a surge in off label prescriptions for weight loss.

Ozempic contains an active ingredient that also suppresses a person's appetite, which has made it popular for people searching for weight loss options even though it hasn't been approved by the FDA for weight loss.

SEE ALSO | FDA approves new version of diabetes drug Mounjaro to be sold for weight loss

A new version of the popular diabetes treatment Mounjaro can be sold as a weight-loss drug, U.S. regulators announced Wednesday.

It's frustrating for Charity Batchelor who said diabetic patients should have priority.

"They should have some kind of safeguard in the pharmacies. People who have the diabetes, you know, let them have the first dibs."

Michael Batchelor has been on the medication for two years and Charity for the last nine months. The couple has never missed their weekly dosage until recently when local pharmacies couldn't refill their prescription.

The shortage has forced Batchelor's doctor to make a desperate move for the sake of Michael's health.

"Last Friday, he changed me to Trulicity because it hasn't been approved for weight loss and of course. Easier to get. I mean, soon as he prescribed it, I got the text and he'd been called in and within 30 minutes it was filled."