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British Columbia plans to limit sales of the popular diabetes drug Ozempic to Canadian residents in response to a wave of Americans flocking to local pharmacies in search of the drug, potentially straining supplies in the province.

Ozempic, made by Novo Nordisk, is experiencing surging demand because it not only helps regulate blood sugar in people with diabetes, but it can also help people lose weight. In the first two months of this year, 15% of the roughly 16,000 Ozempic dispenses in British Columbia were sold to U.S. residents, according to a Tuesday release from the province. That’s an “unusually high percentage,” as the average proportion of other drugs sold to Americans is 0.4%, the province said.


“The purpose of procuring the drug Ozempic for British Columbia is not to turn around and export it to Americans,” Adrian Dix, the province’s minister of health, said in the release. “It is to make sure patients in British Columbia and Canada requiring the drug to treat their Type 2 diabetes can continue to access it.”

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