The World Health Organization said that anti-obesity drugs may for the first time be included on the organization's "list of Essential Medicines", a list that is guided by the governments of low-and middle-income countries when making purchasing decisions.A committee of advisers will next month review new applications for the listing of medicines and an updated list of essential medicines is due to be released in September.
3 doctors and a researcher in the United States applied to study the inclusion of anti-obesity drugs. The demand includes the active ingredient "liraglutide" in the drug "Saxenda" produced by the company Novo Nordisk whose exclusive use rights will soon expire, which will allow the production of less expensive universal types of it.
The commission may reject the proposal or wait for more research evidence to emerge. If the World Health Organization decides to include the drug "Saxenda" and other similar drugs on the list, this will mark a new approach for the organization to obesity at the global level.
This may also pave the way for the recommendation of a newer and more powerful drug from Novo Nordisk under the name "wegovy" to low-and middle-income countries in the future.
But some public health experts warn against offering these drugs too widely, as a solution to a complex condition that is not yet fully understood.
A WHO spokesperson said: "Obesity is a health problem, the importance of which is increasing in many countries .. Obesity medications are of course only one aspect of dealing with it, and Prevention is also necessary," he said.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 650 million adults around the world are obese, which is 3 times what was recorded in 1975, and an estimated 1.3 billion more are overweight. The majority of them, or an estimated 70%, live in low-and middle-income countries.
It is worth mentioning that the World Obesity Federation, in its Atlas issued in 2023, warned of the prevalence of obesity, which by 2035 will reach more than half of the world's population, approximately 51%, especially among children and in low-income countries.