TRENDY weight loss jabs might be dished out to overweight Brits on benefits to get them back to work, a drug giant boss has hinted.
Wegovy is prescribed on the NHS for obese people facing a weight-related illness, such as type 2 diabetes.
The game-changing drug maker, Novo Nordisk, confirmed today that it’s in discussions with the Government on how to “address obesity” in the UK.
It comes as leaked documents suggested chief executive Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen advised UK officials to target the drugs at people on benefits who were most likely to return to work if they shed weight.
Quizzed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether these claims were true, Mr Jørgensen said: “Yes, we have had meetings with the British Government talking in general about how do you address obesity.
“We discussed partnerships in different countries where there is an open attitude to looking at obesity.
“I cannot go into specific details about it.”
When asked whether discussions about picking out certain Brits had occurred, Mr Jørgensen replied: “We can only talk about our products based on the approved label.
“It’s up to the healthcare symptoms on how they want the specific medicines and bring it to certain patient groups.”
He added: “I have had meetings with the British government on obesity, but I cannot get into more specific details.”
Internal documents seen by the Observer revealed Mr Jørgensen had “noted a need” to “target the right cohort to drive labour market activity, such as those on the tipping point of employability where obesity is the driver to leaving the labour market.”
The comments were made during a private meeting of Novo Nordisk chiefs with senior UK policymakers last year.
It is unclear whether the Government accepted Novo Nordisk’s suggestion of targeting certain benefit claimants.
The Department of Health said at the time that it had no plans to target Brits on benefits with anti-obesity jabs.
However, getting people back to work is believed to have been a key goal of its plans to widen access to weight-loss jabs, according to the Times.
In March, the newspaper reported that “millions of people could be offered a new generation of weight-loss drugs under plans to turn the tide on obesity and get benefit claimants back to work” after an apparent briefing by officials.
Britain’s weight problem costs almost £100bn a year, 2023 analysis has suggested, as a result of people being too overweight to work and additional weight-related health costs.
In England, 26 per cent of adults are obese, while a further 38 per cent are overweight, which is classed as a BMI between 25 and 30.
In December 2023, a record 2.58million people were too sick to work, often as a result of being overweight or living with obesity.
The injections were originally designed to treat type 2 diabetes, which can be triggered by obesity.
But due to the high cost of the drug, it’s also being used for high-profile celebs.
The jabs have allegedly been used by billionaire business mogul Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian, to help shed the pounds.
Previous trials showed people taking the drug lost, on average, 12 per cent more of their body weight compared to people on a placebo.
But, the same trials showed that around half of people taking the drug experience gut issues, including sickness, bloating, acid reflux, constipation and diarrhoea.
Many also regained two-thirds of the pounds they shed after dropping the weekly injections.
Read more on the Scottish Sun
Last month, the NHS announced a new weight loss pill that helps patients lose 15 per cent of their body weight is being made available at a hospital.
The treatment takes 15 minutes and involves a capsule containing a gastric balloon that is filled with water after it is swallowed and helps make people feel fuller, so they eat less.
How does Wegovy work?
WEGOVY works by supressing our appetite – this is why it works for weight loss.
To do this, an ingredient found in the fat-busting drug, known as semaglutide, mimics the role of a natural hormone, called GLP-1.
The hormone is normally produced in response to detecting nutrients when we eat.
GLP-1 is part of the signalling pathway that tells your body you have eaten and prepares it to use the energy that comes from your food.
If you’re worried about your weight, speak to a GP or dietitian to work out what option would work better for you and your needs.
What foods can trigger the same reaction?
Energy-dense foods, which tend to be foods high in healthy fats, proteins or simple sugars, trigger GLP-1 secretion in the body, nutritionist Emma Beckett said.
“This means a healthy diet, high in GLP-1 stimulating nutrients, can increase GLP-1 levels,” she wrote in the Conversation.
Foods that help GLP-1 levels:
- Lean protein sources like eggs
- Whole grains
“It’s also why diet change is part of both weight and type 2 diabetes management.”