Notice: Recommendations while Ozempic and other GLP-1 agonists are in shortage
Date: December 6, 2023
On this page
- Latest update on the shortage
- What we’re doing
- Recommendations for prescribers
- Recommendations for patients
Latest update on the shortage
Ozempic (semaglutide) and other GLP-1 receptor agonists used to treat adult patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus are in shortage around the world, including in Canada. High demand has caused this shortage.
Novo Nordisk Canada Inc, which markets Ozempic, is expecting shortages of the 0.25/0.5 mg and 1 mg pens in Canada until early 2024. Eli Lilly Canada Inc, which markets Trulicity (Dulaglutide) and Mounjaro (Tirzepatide), a GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist, is also expecting shortages of both drugs in Canada throughout early 2024.
Both manufacturers expect to receive additional supplies over the coming months. However, products may not always be available at pharmacies due to continued high demand.
Efforts are being made to increase manufacturing capacity. But it will take time to build up supply levels to meet the demand.
What we’re doing
Health Canada is working with manufacturers and stakeholders to monitor supply. We’re also looking at how these products can be made more available.
We have engaged groups representing patients, such as Diabetes Canada, Diabète Québec and Obesity Canada. We’re also communicating with the provincial and territorial governments and regulators in other impacted countries.
We brought together clinical expert groups to develop recommendations for prescribers and for patients affected by the shortage.
Recommendations for prescribers
We engaged the following expert groups:
- Canadian Pharmacists Association
- Neighbourhood Pharmacies Association of Canada
- College of Family Physicians of Canada
- Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism
- Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists
These expert groups recommend that prescribers:
- do not start new patients on these drugs that are in shortage, unless there are no suitable alternatives and there’s a clinical reason to do so
- consider prescribing an alternative drug for patients taking one of these drugs that are in shortage, as a continuous supply can’t be guaranteed
- conserve the existing supply for patients who are stabilized and have no other treatment options
Access resources from the Canadian Pharmacists Association and medSask, a not-for-profit that supports appropriate prescribing and medication safety, on alternatives:
- guidance for pharmacy professionals and prescribers
- alternative therapies for type 2 diabetes mellitus
- alternative therapies for obesity
We continue to monitor the supply of these drugs closely. We will take action, as necessary, and publish updates on the supply situation.
Recommendations for patients
We recognize the importance of Ozempic, Trulicity and Mounjaro for patients. Addressing these shortages is a top priority.
Because supplies are not regular, these drugs should be conserved for people who have no other treatment choices. Your doctor may decide to prescribe a different medication for you.
Before your current supply runs out, you should contact your pharmacy well in advance. Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. and Eli Lilly Canada Inc. are asking pharmacists to limit refill prescriptions for patients to a 30-day supply.
You should always:
- use a licensed pharmacy to get your medication
- only buy products that are authorized for sale in Canada
- avoid buying products from unlicensed and unverified online sellers, as these products may:
- not contain the active ingredient
- contain other undeclared and hazardous ingredients that could cause serious risks to health
- not meet manufacturing quality and safety standards and have unknown contaminants
All drugs approved for sale in Canada have an 8-digit drug identification number (DIN). The DIN assures you that Health Canada has assessed a drug and considers it’s safe and effective when used as directed on the label. The DIN also provides a way to track adverse drug reactions.
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