Updated December 6, 2023
Diabetes Canada is committed to helping people improve their health outcomes by advocating for access to evidence-based, personalized diabetes treatments, which can include semaglutide medications such as Ozempic and other GLP-1 agonists such as Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) and Trulicity (Dulaglutide).
Over the last year Diabetes Canada has been monitoring the increased demand for Ozempic and were informed directly by Health Canada and the manufacturer, Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., of intermittent shortages of the Ozempic 1 mg pen from late August to October 2023. Unfortunately, the intermittent shortages have been extended to March 2024 and are now also impacting 0.25/0.5 mg pens.
Eli Lilly Canada Inc, which markets Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) and Trulicity (Dulaglutide), has also informed Health Canada that they are also expecting shortages of both drugs in Canada throughout early 2024.
Diabetes Canada appreciates the potential impacts this could have on people living with diabetes who currently use this medication as part of their prescribed diabetes management regime.
Unfortunately, Diabetes Canada is hearing from more people living with diabetes who are experiencing challenges accessing their prescribed medications due to the manufacturers' intermittent shortages.
If you live with diabetes and are concerned about the shortages of Ozempic, Health Canada advises you to reach out to your healthcare provider to discuss other options that may be available. You are also advised to contact your pharmacy well in advance of running out of your current supply.
New prescriber recommendations released from Health Canada
Diabetes Canada has been working side by side with Health Canada and our peers in the healthcare sector, with the expectation that this situation can be resolved soon to ensure people who need this medication have continued access.
Our team has been involved in on-going conversations with Health Canada and participating in a regular meeting with Health Canada and other stakeholder groups in the healthcare sector to keep updated on the situation.
Our Government Affairs team has also had several meetings with Health Canada’s Drug Shortages division to press the importance of a solution for people who rely on this medication to manage their diabetes. They also met directly with the Minister of Health Mark Holland to bring forward concerns we are hearing from people living with diabetes and those who care for them.
On December 6, 2023, Health Canada released a notice to advise prescribers these drugs should be conserved for people who have no other treatment choices while the supply shortages continue.
This statement also contained recommendations for prescribers, including to:
Not start new patients on these drugs that are in shortage, unless there are no suitable alternatives and there’s a clinical reason to do so.
Consider prescribing an alternative drug for patients taking one of these drugs that are in shortage, as a continuous supply can’t be guaranteed.
Conserve the existing supply for patients who are stabilized and have no other treatment options.
Both Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. and Eli Lilly Canada Inc. are asking pharmacists to limit refill prescriptions for patients to a 30-day supply.
We will continue to advocate for strong protections and safeguards of the Canadian medication supply for the 1 in 3 Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes.
Category Tags: Advocacy & Policy;
About Diabetes Canada
A world free of the effects of diabetes is our vision. That’s why we’re working together to improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes. We’re sharing knowledge and creating connections for individuals and the health-care professionals who care for them; advocating through public policy; and funding research to improve treatments and find a cure to end diabetes.