Maker of ‘weight loss jab’ funding NHS obesity services

Maker of 'weight loss jab' funding NHS obesity services

The pharmaceutical company that manufactures ‘weight loss jabs’ is funding the expansion of weight-loss services across England.

According to a report by The Observer, Novo Nordisk – the company that makes slimming jabs, Wegovy – is paying the salaries of staff on NHS obesity teams and financing the redesign of services

This includes giving £206,000 to a health partnership to transform its obesity treatment. It also has financial links to the co-chair of an NHS England weight management advisory group.

The money is also paying for two staff members and ‘independent facilitation support’ for a partnership with Mid and South Essex NHS trust and local councils. This aims to provide a blueprint for transforming other weight loss services in England.

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Approval for use

In February, England’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved the use of two drugs, liraglutide and semaglutide (Wegivy), for certain people with obesity.

Known as GLP-1 analogues, they work by mimicking the hormones that help people feel full after eating.

Reports suggest that Wegovy will be available at high street chemists. This includes Boots and Superdrug via their online doctor services.

Helen Knight is the programme director in the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE. She said the weight loss injections have been shown to work alongside changes to diet and exercise.

‘We know that management of obesity is one of the biggest challenges our health service is facing,’ she said.

‘Nearly two thirds of adults are either overweight or obese. It is a lifelong condition that needs medical intervention, has psychological and physical effects, and can affect quality of life.

‘But in recent years NICE has been able to recommend a new line of pharmaceutical treatments. [These] have shown that those people using them, alongside changes to their diet and exercise, have been able to reduce their weight.’

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