Novo Nordisk’s Rybelsus was FDA approved today and it is expected to stir up the diabetes market. This is the first oral tablet formulation of semaglutide, which may be better known to you as Ozempic from all the TV commercials with the catchy jingle.
While Ozempic is a once-weekly injection, Rybelsus is a daily pill taken in the morning prior to breakfast. For diabetic patients, dealing with needles can be a barrier to successfully managing their disease, so Rybelsus is expected to be a game changer for those patients. We should expect a significant shift in utilization away from the injectables toward the Rybelsus.
Important to note, the FDA’s approved prescribing information for Rybelsus includes a black boxed warning. Similar to other GLP-1 receptor antagonists, this warning advises doctors and patients about the potential increased risk of thyroid cancer for patients taking Rybelsus. The FDA has also said that Rybelsus is not recommended as the first line treatment for diabetes so we should not expect newly diagnosed diabetics to start with this drug.
Novo Nordisk has not released the price for Rybelsus yet, but they have said it will be competitively priced within the GLP-1 category. As a drug class that drives a lot of drug spend for our clients, we expect to see this drug in our top utilization reports.
Michelle Gerlovin, PharmD.
Senior Client Services Director
Michelle is a clinical pharmacist with a passion for improving outcomes while controlling healthcare costs. She has worked in various pharmacy practice and pharmacy benefit management settings. Michelle's experience includes pharmaceutical rebate analysis, drug utilization management, and strategic pharmacy benefit support for government clients.