Diabetes medication becoming scarce for those who need it most

NOW: Diabetes medication becoming scarce for those who need it most

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - A high demand for drugs that treat diabetes is creating a big problem for those who need them most.

Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro have become popular as non-diabetics use them for weight loss.

Local pharmacies are struggling to keep them in stock facing back orders.

"I deal with a lot of patients who have used them, and I mean a lot. More than anything I have ever seen in the United States," said Ray Kadi, Pharmacist, and owner of University Commons Pharmacy. 

All around the country as the pounds drop, the demand is on the rise.

Users sharing their results on social media has become an increasing trend.

Even Oprah stepped down from the board of WeightWatchers this week after revealing she has been using a weight loss drug.

Kadi added they have received 20-25 calls a day from people hoping to get their hands on a prescription. Including those, looking to take the weekly injection for cosmetic purposes.

"It's been a headache to get people who really need those medications to get them,” said Kadi.

Brian Maynard said he has fallen victim to the supply issues.

The owner of Forté Coffee in Benton Harbor and St. Joe, having to drive forty minutes each way to pick up a prescription after calling multiple pharmacies.

"My local drug store here, a national chain, when I called and ordered it, said it would not be available until late April,” said Maynard.

But Maynard is not using the drug to lose weight. He is diabetic and relies on his prescription to maintain blood sugar levels.

"I certainly understand why those who want to lose weight, would use this medication. I get it, I am someone who has struggled with my weight most of my life. On the other hand, I am at a point where I need it for my survival. It is not about trying to drop 10 or 15 pounds,” Maynard added.

While Kadi said the drug so far seems safe to use for weight loss.

"In my experience, a lot of drugs that come out this way... a few years later they find an issue... a side effect that was not noticed,” said Kadi.

He doesn’t recommend it for those just looking to lose a few pounds.

"If you are a few pounds overweight, and you want to use the drug to use pounds... it is not logical to do that. You can do that by diet, by exercise…,” Kadi added.

Kadi mentioned insurance companies are making it more difficult for those who are not in need of the drug, to obtain it.

Share this article: