Eli Lilly & Co. said it probably won’t be able to make enough of its new diabetes drug to meet patient demand in the near future.
Prescriptions for Mounjaro have grown rapidly since it was approved in the U.S. in May, said Mike Mason, president of Lilly Diabetes, on the company’s earnings call November 1. On top of that, a shortage in a competing drug may drive more patients to Lilly’s medicine.
“This will produce some intermittent delays in meeting wholesale orders, for some dosage strength, as we ramp up our supply chain,” Mason said. Lilly is setting up a manufacturing facility in North Carolina to produce more of the drug, which should be fully operational in 2023.
Questions about the new drug dominated Lilly’s earnings call, so much so that one analyst joking referred to it as a “Mounjaro call.” Sales of the medicine beat analyst estimates in the third quarter. The company is also working with the Food and Drug Administration to gain approval in obesity, which could one day help it become
Lilly’s biggest product. Both diabetes and obesity are common ailments in the U.S., and pharmaceutical treatments for obesity are just starting to get traction.
Novo Nordisk A/S sells two similar drugs and both are experiencing shortages. Ozempic, for type 2 diabetes, is in short supply because of high demand. Some doses of Wegovy, approved for obesity, aren’t shipping because of manufacturing quality concerns. Doctors are prescribing Ozempic off-label for weight loss, further driving up demand, according to a May statement by Australia’s drug regulator.
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