The success of Wegovy and the related injectable drug Ozempic has sparked something of a gold rush in the pharma industry and some analysts predict this class of treatments could become one of the biggest-ever blockbusters.

Novo Nordisk A/S has vaulted into the limelight thanks to a new generation of medicines that help people shed unwanted pounds by curbing their appetite. Begun in 2018, the Select trial followed more than 17,000 patients in 41 countries, focusing on people aged 45 and over with a history of cardiovascular disease. Because of supply issues, Novo has been unable to fully capitalize on its first-mover advantage before rival Eli Lilly & Co.’s diabetes drug Mounjaro hits the weight-loss market. Novo’s stock has more than quadrupled since the end of 2018.

The supply challenge is raising questions about whether the drugmaker can stay on top of the wave that’s boosted its market value to about $420 billion — more than Denmark’s gross domestic product — and made it Europe’s most valuable company after French luxury giant LVMH.

Novo share price rise on announcement

The population and the life expectancy numbers

The future demand for the drug will be so high with an estimated one billion people to have obesity by 2030.

Novo has been in the limelight after celebrities and key business executives said they were using diabetes drug Ozempic to shed pounds. Both it and Wegovy are injected and share the same active ingredient, semaglutide. They work by suppressing the appetite as well as slowing the movement of food through the digestive tract.

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhea, and European authorities are investigating reports of some reported cases of suicidal thoughts associated with the broader class of drugs that includes Wegovy.

Analysts have estimated obesity drugs could become some of the biggest pharma blockbusters of all time, with Novo leading the pack.

If the overall incidence of heart disease is reduced then overall life expectancy rates will increase and the cost of medical expenses should be reduced as well.

The major cause of death in the 55-64 age group is cancer followed by heart disease and injury. In the 75+ age group, the leading cause shifts to heart disease.

Leading cause of death in Australia by sex, 2021

The good news story

What are the positives of longer life expectancy?

Of course, the benefits of rejuvenation aren’t “just” health-related; being healthy for longer implies living for longer, which means more time to dedicate to your passions and interests, to spend with your loved ones, to learn new things, and to become a better and wiser person, in principle without time limits. On the other side of the equation living longer may increase the chances of running out of retirement savings.

Australian life expectancy rates


Worlds oldest person – glass of red wine and cigarette


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