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Brantford, Ont. pharmacy already seeing demand for weight loss drug Wegovy


Canadians struggling with obesity have another option at the pharmacy.

Wegovy, from the company behind Ozempic, is now available across Canada.

In Brantford, Ont., pharmacist Ramez Girgis has been helping customer Yvette with her weight loss journey.

“I was on Ozempic,” she explained to CTV News. “However, it was recommended that I go over to Wegovy because it’s covered by my health insurance.”

She came into Guardian Discount Pharmacy on Wednesday to pick a different prescription when Girgis let her know the drug was now in stock.

“This is terrific for me, to assist in getting my health back,” Yvette explained.

She’s not alone.

“We, at Guardian, started two patients on Wegovy already. Their insurance covered it,” Girgis said.

There’s been so much interest in the drug that he’s been fielding calls from curious customers before it was even available in Canada.

Wegovy is an injectable drug that people take on a weekly basis. It contains the same medication as Ozempic – semaglutide.

“It works by sending a message to your brain, to let the brain know: ‘I am full, I don’t need any more food,’” explained Girgis.

But there are differences between the two drugs. Wegovy, unlike Ozempic, was specifically created to help people who meet a certain criteria related to their weight.

“The patient’s body mass index has to be 27, with a co-morbid chronic medical condition – diabetes, hypertension, whatnot,” Girgis said. “The other thing is, if the patient’s body mass index is 30 and above, they are good candidates for Wegovy.”

Not just anyone can take the drug, however.

It must be prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional, like a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Girgis also explained that people with a history of thyroid cancer, pancreatic or kidney problems, or have serious allergies to semaglutide, wouldn’t be good candidates for Wegovy. He said the drug has 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide in the weekly injectable, compared to the 1.0 milligrams in a single Ozempic dose.

READ MORE: How Wegovy works and reported side effects

Wegovy is expected to cost patients about $400 a month and it’s not clear if medical insurance plans will cover it.

Girgis said he’s encouraged by what he’s seen so far.

“I would say it’s too early to see all the insurance companies jumping in to cover that for weight loss. But as of yet, I’ve seen actually two insurances that are already covering patients for Wegovy.”

Girgis also hopes on-label use of Wegovy will cut down on shortages associated with off-label use of Ozempic. Top Stories

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