WHO advisers to consider whether obesity medication should be added to Essential Medicines List

If added, liraglutide would be the first obesity drug to make the list.The WHO's expert panel will review the evidence and make a recommendation to the agency's governing body.The WHO's expert panel will review the evidence on liraglutide and make a recommendation to the agency's governing body on

WHO advisers to consider whether obesity medication should be added to Essential Medicines List

The World Health Organization's advisory council will decide next month if liraglutide - the active ingredient of certain diabetes and obesity medication - should be added to the list of essential drugs.

WHO states that the list is updated every 2 years and includes medications "that meet the health needs of the majority." The list is updated every two years and includes medicines "that satisfy the priority health needs of the population," according to WHO.

The list "is a guide to the development and update of national and institution essential medicine lists in support of the procurement and supply medicines in the public sectors, medicines reimbursement schemes and donations of medicine, as well as local medicine production."

The WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines will meet on April 24 to 28 to discuss updates and revisions involving dozens of medicines. Four researchers from US institutions, including Yale University and Brigham and Women's Hospital, requested the addition of GLP-1 receptor-agonists like liraglutide.

These drugs stimulate insulin release by mimicking the effects of GLP-1. This lowers blood sugar levels and slows food passage through the intestine. Liraglutide is a drug that was originally developed to treat diabetes, but it has since been approved as a weight loss treatment in the US. Its more potent cousin semaglutide has also been approved as a treatment for obesity and diabetes in the US.

Celebrities and social media have promoted the latter usage. Ozempic is sold for diabetes, and Wegovy is for weight loss. Semaglutide, according to studies, may help people lose between 10% and 15% of their initial weight - significantly more than other medications. Some versions of semaglutide have been out of stock in the US for the past year due to high demand.

Novo Nordisk, a drugmaker, says that generic versions of liraglutide could be available as early as June 2024.

Researchers wrote to WHO that "at present, there are not medications on the Essential Medicines List" that target weight loss specifically for the global burden obesity. The EML currently includes supplements to correct nutritional deficiencies, but it also states that the majority of people live in countries where obesity and overweight kill more people than those who are underweight. "

The WHO advisers are expected to make recommendations in September on which drugs will be included in the list for this year.

At a Wednesday press briefing, Dr. Francesco Blanca said that although this drug had a history, it was not used long enough for it to appear on the Essential Medicines List. There are also concerns about the cost of treatment. In the meantime, WHO is examining the use of weight-reduction drugs in the context a systematic review of guidelines for children and teenagers. We believe it's a work-in-progress, but will see what the Essential Medicines List Committee concludes."