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Terrified mom claims she can’t access life-saving medication because doctors are prescribing it as a ‘magic bullet for weight loss’ causing a nation-wide shortage
A mom living with diabetes claims she’s struggling to find her life-saving medication at pharmacies due to a nationwide shortage because it’s ‘in demand’ for weight loss. Nama Winston (pictured) claims it took her ‘years’ to find affordable life-saving medication, and now it’s been ‘ripped away’ from her and has become increasingly difficult to buy. The single parent told Kidspot she takes Ozempic — an injectable drug that helps to suppress hunger — and she can’t just ‘eat better’ food as an alternative solution. ‘Not having access to this drug suddenly — which I use for diabetes — is making me feel like [expletive]. I need this drug NOW.’
She explained users need to build up to the maximum, most effective dose over a few weeks. ‘So that when you go to the pharmacy and are put on a wait-list to get your injection in a fortnight, you effectively have to start again. And you really don’t feel well in the meantime,’ Nama said.
She also explained that she is constantly worried about her blood sugar levels that can quickly become ‘out of control,’ with symptoms including fatigue, irritable bowel and nausea. Not only that, Nama said she ‘can’t afford’ to go without it.
In November 2022, Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk informed the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) that Ozempic (semaglutide) will not be available in Australia from mid-November 2022 until the end of March 2023. Patients who are prescribed the drug are urged to contact their doctor immediately to have their treatment reassessed. According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, the TGA is working with Novo Nordisk and the relevant health professional organizations to manage this serious shortage.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia president Trent Twomey told 2GB this month that Ozempic was used for weight loss but it is only approved for people with type 2 diabetes as prescribed by their doctor. ‘So what the drug Ozempic has been approved for use in Australia [on the PBS] for — it’s strictly for those with type 2 diabetes,’ he said. ‘There’s been these entrepreneurial GPs who are popping up these apps that are issuing a script without them ever seeing a patient,’ Mr Twomey said.
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