Wegovy reimbursement would cost Denmark up to $4 billion each year -ministry

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Reimbursement of Novo Nordisk’s weight-loss drug Wegovy for the 900,000 people in Denmark who are considered obese would cost the Danish state as much as $4 billion each year, the country’s health ministry said on Monday.

Wegovy is the first-to-market in a new class of highly effective weight-loss drugs. It was also found to have a clear cardiovascular benefit, which could boost Novo Nordisk’s hopes of positioning it as more than a lifestyle drug.

The company said on Friday it aims to convince European governments to pay for Wegovy for the most overweight, or those with co-morbidities.

Reimbursing Wegovy for the roughly 900,000 Danes with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above would cost 23.9-27.9 billion Danish crowns ($3.5-$4 billion) each year, the Danish Health Ministry said in an answer to parliament on Monday.

The calculation was based on prices and medicine reimbursements for this year, it said.

A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal with anything over 30 considered as obese.

The cost of Wegovy would imply a monthly expense for the public healthcare system of around $375 per patient, according to a calculation made by Reuters.

Wegovy can cost more than $1,000 per month and is so far only available in Denmark, Norway, Germany and the United States.

In Denmark, public reimbursement of medicines rises gradually as the expense for each patient builds over the course of one year. This year, the maximum self-payment for medicines is set at 11,570 crowns for each patient.

($1 = 6.8990 Danish crowns)

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Sharon Singleton)