The first injection in China to treat obesity has received market authorization, providing another treatment options for those in need.
Huadong Medicine Co Ltd released a notice on Tuesday saying its subsidiary company Hangzhou Zhongmeihuadong Pharmaceutical Co received approval from the National Medical Products Administration for liraglutide injection to be used in weight reduction.
Liraglutide, a long-acting basal insulin and GLP-1 receptor agonist, was approved for blood sugar control in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes in China in March. Glucagon-like peptide 1, or GLP-1, is a hormone that has been shown to cause a feeling of fullness and suppression of appetite.
More than 50 percent of adults in China were obese or overweight, according to a report on nutrition and chronic diseases in China in 2020 from the National Health Commission.
If GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs are used in weight loss, the market size is expected to reach 38.3 billion yuan ($5.28 billion), data from CITIC Securities showed.
Some young people in China are using diabetes treatment Ozempic, another GLP-1 receptor agonist, to lose weight without professional guidance, which experts warned could carry health risks. The NMPA accepted the application of Ozempic for weight reduction in early June but has not yet approved it. Liraglutide needs to be injected every day, and Ozempic only once a week.