Celeb weight loss drug could come to Scotland after approval in England

An appetite-suppressant drug could soon be available on prescription through the NHS.

Wegovy celebrity weight loss drug semaglutide could come to Scotland after approval in NHS England iStock

A weight loss drug that popular in the US has been approved for use by doctors in England.

Semaglutide, sold under the brand name Wegovy, was found be safe and effective by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the body that provides independent guidance for the NHS in England and Wales.

A decision on whether it will be made available to people in Scotland is expected before the summer.

The drug, manufactured by Danish firm Novo Nordisk, is administered by a weekly injection.

It makes people feel full, meaning they eat less and lose weight.

Experts described the decision as a “pivotal moment” for the treatment of people living with obesity.

Billionaire Elon Musk has claimed to have used it – with the drug reportedly causing a “craze” among celebrities.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) reviews new medicines which have received licences from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Before a medicine can be prescribed routinely in Scotland, it has to be accepted for use by SMC.

A spokesperson for Scottish Medicines Consortium said: “Scottish Medicines Consortium advice for semaglutide (Wegovy) is expected to be published in late spring of this year.

“We are currently awaiting confirmation of the product’s launch date from the manufacturer.”

The drug could be prescribed by high street pharmacies in Scotland is it is approved.

In February it emerged that some chemists in England would made it available through their online doctor services, if suitable.

Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “For some people losing weight is a real challenge which is why a medicine like semaglutide is a welcome option.

“It won’t be available to everyone. Our committee has made specific recommendations to ensure it remains value for money for the taxpayer, and it can only be used for a maximum of two years.

“We are pleased to finally publish our final guidance on semaglutide which will mean some people will be able to access this much talked about drug on the NHS.”

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