Demand for these drugs is so big it’s keeping an entire country solvent!

Demand for weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy is so large that the government of Denmark where drugmaker Novo Nordisk is from, now has to publish GDP data excluding it.

After 100 years of relatively quiet existence as a maker of diabetes drugs, the Danish firm Novo Nordisk has suddenly grown so big that the company is reshaping the Danish economy.

Sales of Wegovy — which, clinical trials have shown, can help people lose 15% of their body weight after less than 16 months — have skyrocketed in recent months. Its maker, Novo Nordisk (NONOF), has raked in almost 49 billion Danish krone in profit ($7 billion) over the first six months of this year, up 32% from the same period in 2022. 

Novo Nordisk also produces Ozempic, a drug developed to treat type 2 diabetes but which contains the same active ingredient as Wegovy. Some physicians have prescribed Ozempic to patients to help them lose weight. 

Booming sales of both drugs have led to an influx of US dollars into Denmark’s economy, which has pushed up the value of the Danish krone, Jens Naervig Pedersen, a director at Danske Bank, wrote in a note last week. 

Denmark’s central bank has responded by keeping interest rates below those set by the European Central Bank, Pedersen said. That has discouraged foreigners from buying more krone and reduced the currency’s value, he told CNN. The Danish central bank has done so because it aims to keep the krone stable against the euro in order to achieve the same level of inflation as in the 20 countries that use the euro. CNN

Since the first half of 2022 (left), headline GDP growth has been 1.7% (blue), but ex-Pharma it’s -0.3% (green).

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