national

Novo to launch anti-obesity drug Wegovy in Asia with February Japan roll-out

65 Comments
By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Thomson Reuters 2023.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

65 Comments
Login to comment

Obesity is a lifestyle disease. People need to change their diet.

24 ( +36 / -12 )

From last year I started cutting down on my food and in the early afternoon I stop eating and fast to the following morning and I have lost 20 kilos and I still have some weight to go. You don't need a drug to lose weight but will power and desire. A friend her son, was extremely obese but he chose a route of cutting down his food and increase his exercise and over 2 years he has lost 40 kilos. So no fancy gimmicks, no drugs and old fashion exercise.

23 ( +31 / -8 )

Japanese really need some fat not drug that can do opposite things.

-17 ( +6 / -23 )

The new obesity drugs tend to suppress one's desire to eat. Many find they don't want to eat heavy meals while using Wegovy and Ozempic.

Larr Flint

Finally I will be able to eat McDonald's and be fit at the same time!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Or they could save money and just eat less/better. But of course they won't.

15 ( +26 / -11 )

I thought that this medicine was designed for diabetes patients. I really hope that the companies greed doesn't put it's real customers at risk if they run out of the medicine when it is only used as a quick fix to obesity! Sure it will help people lose the weight, but then they have to keep it off, or forever stay on the drug!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Obesity is a lifestyle disease. People need to change their diet

The effect of the drug is precisely facilitate this change, it does not replace it.

 You don't need a drug to lose weight but will power and desire.

The current obesity crisis in several countries disproves your invalid generalization, some people can be successful but as a rule that is not the case, if "will power and desire" were enough there would be no obesity, smoking, alcoholism problems.

Finally I will be able to eat McDonald's and be fit at the same time!

That is still true right now, you can have a healthy life style and eat at McDonalds, they are not mutually exclusive things.

Or they could save money and just eat less/better. But of course they won't.

Again, if that were so easy there would only a tiny fraction of lung or liver cancer cases in the world.

I thought that this medicine was designed for diabetes patients. I really hope that the companies greed doesn't put it's real customers at risk if they run out of the medicine when it is only used as a quick fix to obesity! 

Drugs can be effective for several purposes, clinical trials are the tool to find out precisely this, as well as how safe the drugs are when used as indicated. It is also not a "quick fix", the drug simply let people be more successful at changing their life styles to include a better diet and more exercise.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

Ah yes, no mention of some of the "possible" side the effects, with I have listed here from the companys own website:

"Common side effects of Wegovy® may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, stomach (abdomen) pain, headache, tiredness (fatigue), upset stomach, dizziness, feeling bloated, belching, gas, stomach flu, and heartburn".

And these are just the "common" ones. They also state:

"Wegovy should be used with a reduced-calorie meal plan and increased physical exercise".

So, basically you are throwing your money away, as with most drugs.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

If you read the possible list of side effects, using this so called wonder weight loss drug, you’ll think twice, keep it for the diabetics , who really need it,

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Ah yes, no mention of some of the "possible" side the effects, with I have listed here from the companys own website:

The drug is to be used under medical supervision, the side effects are still much less serious and frequent than those that come with a failure to lose weight which is precisely why the drug is approved for use.

So, basically you are throwing your money away, as with most drugs.

The drug have demonstrated benefits, so are "most drugs". Pretending you can disprove the medical consensus of the world without presenting any evidence is not a rational or believable argument to make.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Are there needs for Wegovy in Japan, given low occurrence of morbidly obesity in Japan?

Or is it taken by 120 lbs women who want to drop to 100 lbs?

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Are there needs for Wegovy in Japan, given low occurrence of morbidly obesity in Japan?

That may be the reason for the launch, the producing company can get one more "market" without increasing so much the demand and the government can approve a drug knowing it will not need to subsidize too many patients taking it.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

There already is an anti-obesity drug, it's called exercise.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Over the last couple of decades I have definitely noticed an increase in obesity levels in Japan...still nothing compared to countries like the US and UK but with Japanese youth increasingly favouring fast food over the traditional Japanese diet I imagine obesity is only going to get worse.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

 if "will power and desire" were enough there would be no obesity, smoking, alcoholism problems.

It is enough, but too many people often give up at the first hurdle. There is a magic bullet for most problems and it is called determination and effort. Quitting smoking was incredibly difficult for me, but was it worth the struggle, hell yes!

7 ( +12 / -5 )

There already is an anti-obesity drug, it's called exercise.

This drug works by letting people exercise (and eat better) without failing so easily.

They are enough. People struggling with such addictions just don't have them.

That is like saying money is enough to live well, but poor people just don't have it. It can be true, but does not help with the problem.

It is enough, but too many people often give up at the first hurdle

No, it is not enough according to the shift that professionals in nutrition, endocrinology, etc. are having in their recommendations. If relying on will power ends up with a serious public health problem that is not solved with persevering on the same approach. Drugs are just one of the many different things (that also include education, prevention, etc.) that those professionals are using to change that outdated and unproductive way of thinking.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10015774/

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

problem is that drugs have side effect. There was such a drug in France a few years ago and here was the result:

« Servier hit with $3.1m fine over the sale of Mediator, a weight-loss drug linked to hundreds of deaths. A French drugmaker has been found guilty of manslaughter and deception over a weight-loss pill which was on the market for 33 years and blamed for hundreds of deaths.Mar 29, 2021 »

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Obesity is often a response to other issues, commonly mental health problems stemming from past trauma. Eating become a comfort that insulates people against pain. Dealing with the root problem is a better, healthier, more sustainable solution. Products like this can help with that, but it is cheaper just to confront your demons and sort out your diet. If you can escape that, there is a life out there for you, waiting to be lived.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

problem is that drugs have side effect

All drugs have side effects, risks and counterindications, this do not automatically makes it better not to use them. There are mechanisms and measures to watch over anything that is used to confirm it is still more beneficial than detrimental for the health of the patients and these measures are very effective when followed according to the recommendation of experts. In the example you bring, the drug was banned over 20 years ago in many countries once data appeared suggesting its benefits did not outweighed its risks, for some reason France choose to ignore that data and tried to avoid any responsibility for doing it.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

I've heard several doctors point out that much of the weight that is lost with these drugs is muscle, which is not something you would want to do. I still have not seen anything to indicate that taking these drugs make anyone healthy.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

For many people eating less does not work.

I think the main problem is that when one eats carbs, it is very hard to limit what you eat. That is why many recommend the carnivore diet; by eating fatty meats (without carbs) until you feel full, you won't overeat. Many people have had great success with it, for weight loss and to address various health issues.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

I've heard several doctors point out that much of the weight that is lost with these drugs is muscle

You should tell those doctors to publish their data and demonstrate how different this is supposed to be from the weight loss that come without the use of these drugs (that unsurprisingly also have loss of muscle) without that published data there is no valid argument, just hearsay.

I still have not seen anything to indicate that taking these drugs make anyone healthy.

Unfortunately that happens because you refuse to see the evidence being continuously published about them since it disproves your personal view about them, not because there is no evidence available.

For example there is a study clearly demonstrating an important reduction of risk on non-diabetic obese patients thanks to the use of semaglutides.

https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2023/11/11/international-clinical-trial-finds-that-semaglutide-reduced-cardiovascular-events-by-20-in-adults-with-overweight-or-obesity-who-dont-have-diabetes/

That is a textbook example of a treatment making patients more healthy.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

 That is why many recommend the carnivore diet; by eating fatty meats (without carbs) until you feel full, you won't overeat. Many people have had great success with it, for weight loss and to address various health issues.

Unfortunately this also come with important risks for the health, which is why many professionals advice against this kind of diet and even recommend against it for most patients.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

It wont sell well in Japan since Japan does not have major problem with Obesity. It selling really well in the west, because there is a big problem with obesity in the west.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Injection pen? Not for me, then. Even the sight of a Chuushaki (syringe) makes me feel faint...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Obesity is lower here, possibly due to the schools teaching kids from a young age about healthy food. instead of slapping fried junk on a school plate. So I really support that. The food parents make isn't just made in a factory or frozen food, the parents actually think about it. Of course, school rules help too. No crisps, cookies, cakes chocolate, or high-calorie drink. The depth and breadth of TV shows banging on about food could help influence kids as they grow. And finally, many areas seem to have a pride in local foods, the fruit picking, kids can do. The diet fad, even mentioned here, it's the carbs, the fat, the meat or the..whatever..... They are fads just to sell diet junk books, CDs etc. Japanese people each pasta, rice, and meat...but it's the PORTION SIZE. That's the difference, and that might be because they also use smaller plates and make it a feast for the eyes. Ignore the diet fads. If you omit carbs, you lose weight. Omit meat, you lose weight. Omit fizzy drinks, you lose weight. The French eat a lot of high-calorie food, but it's the portion sizes that are different. but not as bad as say the USA, UK etc

3 ( +6 / -3 )

GrooveGazerToday  11:04 am JST

It wont sell well in Japan since Japan does not have major problem with Obesity. It selling really well in the west, because there is a big problem with obesity in the west.

Sorry It's not about selling well, it's about helping some patients, who have difficulty with their weight.( for what ever cause)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

“Medical science has made such tremendous progress that there is hardly a healthy human left.”

-- Aldous Huxley

One problem is that the dietary guidelines are based on faulty/corrupt science. This is to some extant also true for the medical system in general.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

“Medical science has made such tremendous progress that there is hardly a healthy human left.”

A claim easily debunked by seeing how humanity in general have never lived longer or being productive until such and advanced age.

One problem is that the dietary guidelines are based on faulty/corrupt science. This is to some extant also true for the medical system in general.

Trying to "improve" this by using measures supported by less evidence (or even disproved by the available evidence) is not a solution, instead this is counterproductive.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Nice. I will suggest my wife start using it.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Luckily I have been a veggie all my life, even from a young age, I have never visited any fast food places or had fat burgers or hot dogs etc....My current weight is about 45kls and I am 154 cm high, and have the body of a stik insekt, I do eat a good breakfast but nothing during the day, and many times go without an evening meal.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

It's true that all drugs have "possible side effects" which are listed by the pharma companies.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Impossible

Actually very possible, not the easiest way to manage a healthy diet, but people can do it, specially if done sporadically and not as the sole source of every meal.

Total complete nonsense

According to what argument? obviously just claiming the whole field of pharmacology is wrong is not a believable argument.

Obviously your not educated

Because you choose to believe something well documented is not true? that is terribly irrational, you ignored something, somebody bring that something to your attention so that person must be not educated because knew something you did not?

And with all your data and everything why make such a ridiculous uneducated claim that all drugs have side effects is ridiculous indeed

So ridiculous that many medical authorities says this explicitly?

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/medicine-and-side-effects

Side effects are unwanted effects caused by medicines including vaccines. All medicines can cause side effects.

What arguments do you have to disprove the experts in the field when they say all drugs have side effects? any source where this is proved to be false?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Or they could save money and just eat less/better. But of course they won't.

Lol! Eating "better" in Japan costs more!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Obesity is a lifestyle disease. People need to change their diet.

It really is about lifestyle for most people, but diet is only one part of the equation. Exercise helps a lot, as does eating at appropriate times and getting enough good sleep.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Nope, it's all in the genes my friend. And obesity is not caused by junk food.

The current consensus is that it is not "all" in the genes but a combination of many factors, including genes, culture, diet, activity and even a difference in the cut off value for obesity.

For example Asian-Americans have higher rates of obesity (around 10-11%) than people that lived all their lives in Asia (2-4%) even if their genes are the same, also in countries like Japan where the diet have changed (and junk food becomes more common) there is an increase of obesity rates again without a genetic change to attribute the increase.

The other important factor is related to what you mention, people of Asian descent present the health problems related to obesity at lower BMI, which means part of the difference could be due simply to failing to detect patients that are already at an elevated risk just because they do not fulfill the occidental standard of obesity.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Luckily I have been a veggie all my life, even from a young age, I have never visited any fast food places or had fat burgers or hot dogs etc....My current weight is about 45kls and I am 154 cm high, and have the body of a stik insekt, I do eat a good breakfast but nothing during the day, and many times go without an evening meal.

I don’t know what to say really. Food and drink are one of the joys of life for me. I had a female colleague a few years back who I invited to lunch and she said something like she doesn’t eat and only drinks tea and absorbs nutrients from the air. I thought she was insane but she is still working.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's true that all drugs have "possible side effects" which are listed by the pharma companies.

Yes, but some drugs (e.g. Wegovy) have a higher incidence of side effects, more serious side effects, lower benefit, ...

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Exercise, eating fresh food and NO Junk Fast foods, NO processed foods and neither any sugary drinks and keeping sugary foods like cakes, ice cream chocolates to a monthly thing has kept me slim and healthy.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

some drugs (e.g. Wegovy) have a higher incidence of side effects, more serious side effects

Stated in such generality that's undeniably true. However, in your effort to stay under the moderation's radar you're being ever so slightly too vague to make an actual argument.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Yes, but some drugs (e.g. Wegovy) have a higher incidence of side effects, more serious side effects, lower benefit, ...

Compared with the problem they solve (failure in life-style changes) it still have lower incidence, less serious side effects and much better benefits, that is what justified its approval. Claiming otherwise without any evidence is not an argument.

Did someone claim the whole field of pharmacology is wrong ?

Yes you did, without even trying to argue how that was true, just claiming that drugs having side effects was untrue, then easily proved wrong.

Not all drugs have side affects

End of discussion !

According to valid medical sources that you failed to address yes they do, so you have been disproved.

Also, you understand that calling "end of discussion" only applies to yourself right? It means you ran out of arguments to you give up on the discussion, it does not mean you can force other people to stop discussing when they still can do it.

All drugs is too vague

No, it is not, "some drugs" or "certain drugs" would be too vague, "all drugs" is very specific because it includes every one.

food is also considered medicine so the presumed argument is really ridiculous

No, because food (and vitamins, water, etc.) are also included in what can have side effects.

Too much water drinking can be fatal and yet it isn't pharmacology however definitely medicinal

Of course it can be considered medicinal, and it definetely can have negative side effects, the problems with polydipsia come precisely because of the negative side-effects of water.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Eating is not the only cause of obesity. After my cancer and treatment, I gained 14 kg in weight. I have spent the last year trying to lose it. I'm down 9 kg and 5 kg to go. I have a calorie-controlled diet and hit the gym.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Good luck Wallace! If you gain weight without eating much is it water retention?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Redemption

Removal of lymph nodes can cause weight gain.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As long as the side effects don't include becoming a rabid conspiracy theorist or developing hatred of alcohol, then I'm OK with it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People who says that "obese people should change their lifestyle", be quite, invest your money in related companies, sit back and see it grow.

Let the people who wants eat a lot, eat a lot, so they spend money on food companies, then when they get sick, they spend money on drug companies. You can't change them by telling them, might as well profit off them.

Immoral ?

Well, what are the governments doing all over the world ? Aren't they supposed to be the one protecting their citizens ? Not just from harm of war, but harm from companies as well.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

For many people eating less does not work.

Too bad then, this drug works by facilitating eating less

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Great, but that will only work for some people. Obesity is not caused by what you eat alone.

The poster mentioned exercise as well

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And this will most probably sell well here in Japan also, I don't see why not.

Of course sales would be greater in countries with more obese people

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It's true that all drugs have "possible side effects" which are listed by the pharma companies.

Yes, but some drugs (e.g. Wegovy) have a higher incidence of side effects, more serious side effects, lower benefit, ...

Yes, one should always consider the hazard (+/-cost) benefit ratio.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, what are the governments doing all over the world ? Aren't they supposed to be the one protecting their citizens ? Not just from harm of war, but harm from companies as well.

They should, but clearly aren't.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If you have a critical health condition then it's necessary to take a drug or medicine even if there is a possibility of side effects.

Fentanyl has very serious side effects.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This drug works by letting people exercise (and eat better) without failing so easily.

Fat people are exercising? That’s a new one.

People need to fail more so they learn resiliency to stop failing.

If you eat half of what you normally eat, you will lose weight.

I’m going to sell a little box of weight loss medicine for 100,000 yen. Open it up and there is a fortune cookie size parse that says “Eat less; exercise more.”

And a natural sleep aid. Open the little box and there is a miniature Japanese-English dictionary.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Alcohol is probably the main problem in Asia for unintended obesity. That should probably be banned along with having assistance for those addicted to it provided.

Japan has some weird medical overweight rules - I'd really like to see the yearly Medical Health checkups for Sumo's... however these so called Medical checkups are a violation of human rights, and should be banned. They serve absolutely no purpose in Japan other than to sustain the need for having teams of semi-medics perform basic tests upon you including stabbing you unprofessionally with a needle to draw blood.

By Law, you do not, need to do this. Any Enforcement of you to have to do so, is a violation of your Human Rights, and can land that Company (whether you are employed by it or not) in hot water. Japan has a bad history of human experimentation, especially related to WW2, and they are rather sensitive towards this - especially when it comes to DNA collection and subsequent experimentation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Removal of lymph nodes can cause weight gain.

Removing lymph nodes can cause lymphedema, which is different from normal weight gain and needs to be treated differently - with compression garments and specialized massage, as well as exercise. Dieting helps with LE but can't cure it completely.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you eat half of what you normally eat, you will lose weight.

And if you stop drinking alcohol you control the alcoholism, same with tobacco, the problem is not about not knowing what to do, but to actually do it consistently without the physiological response making it realistically impossible for a lot of patients.

I’m going to sell a little box of weight loss medicine for 100,000 yen. Open it up and there is a fortune cookie size parse that says “Eat less; exercise more.”

Let us know of the efficacy of that "medicine" doctors have been using that for many years already, the US is a big example of what happens with it.

however these so called Medical checkups are a violation of human rights, and should be banned.

What actual data do you have to prove this? no diseases are detected? no patients directed to appropiate medical interventions? what is the basis you have to make this claim?

By Law, you do not, need to do this.

Neither you "need" to eat righ, or do any exercise people are still much better if they do it, and of course if a company makes it a requirement for hiring you and it is included in the contract your choice is still to do it or look for another job

0 ( +1 / -1 )

based on my observations traveling extensively in Japan since 2002, obesity seems virtually non-existent. Unless, of course, the obese in Japan have been ashamed to show themselves in public.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A lot of insensitive non inclusive and bias comments in the comments section here, always triggering to see all the people in the comments act like they know everything and how everyone in society should handle what they are going through.

What people don’t understand is there are people out there who indeed are dealing with chronic health conditions that indeed does not making losing weight any easier. Things that may be genetic diseases for people or environmental impact on the body. Many times there is no cure for such conditions and many may turn to coping mechanisms, some coping mechanisms are not always considered healthy but literally there is nothing the medical industry can do for them. There are also those that suffer from Organ failure who also face a harder time genetic or environmental, so yes such a drug can be good for people potentially and life altering hopefully that are struggling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites