Wegovy weight loss drug to be prescribed on NHS: Food Active response

Wegovy weight loss drug to be prescribed on NHS: Food Active response

Over recent weeks there has been significant media coverage surrounding a new weight loss drug, semaglutide, being sold under the name of Wegovy.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has made a recommendation that the drug could be prescribed under the guidance of healthcare professionals, to those who have the highest risk of ill health due to their weight, such as a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 35 and at least one weight-related illness e.g. type-2 diabetes [1]. These drugs are not licensed for the treatment of obesity in children and adolescents, only adults.

During a series of clinical trials, the drug has been found to support weight loss by supressing appetite. The longer-term effects however are still under review, and hence the drug can only be prescribed for up to 2 years.

To find out more about the drug and how it can support weight loss, please see the NICE guidance here.

Our Programme Lead, Nicola Calder, responds:

“Drugs such as Wegovy may be a helpful tool to support adults to mange their weight and improve their health. However, the short-term nature of interventions such as these do not take into account the additional support  individuals require to sustain behaviour change and manage their weight over time.  In addition it is important that  government addresses the environmental drivers of obesity, that play a crucial role in determining weight status, including the advertising of less healthy food and drink, the saturation of fast food outlets and providing sufficient opportunities to use active modes of transport.

It is important that we continue to focus our efforts on prevention and not just the treatment and management of obesity.

With the public health grant still not yet confirmed, we urge the government to bolster action to support individuals manage and maintain a healthy weight  by bringing forward proposals in the National Obesity Strategy.”


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