44% of Britons think weight loss drugs should be available on the NHS
October 3rd, 2023, Christien Pheby

44% of Britons think weight loss drugs should be available on the NHS

It was recently announced that the weight-loss drug Wegovy – the branded form of an antidiabetic medication called semaglutide – would be made available on the NHS, with a limited stock being prescribed through specialist weight management services. The jab, which has been used by celebrities including Elon Musk and Boris Johnson, has been hailed as a “miracle” aid in some quarters. 

But do Britons think weight-loss drugs like Wegovy should be available via the health service? Overall, some 44% think they should – while 35% do not. A fifth (21%) don’t know either way. 

Along political lines, Labour voters are more likely to think weight-loss jabs should be offered via the NHS (51%) than Tories (41%). 

Semaglutide has become something of a craze in some circles, with real and counterfeit versions of the drug reportedly being sold on the digital black market. Some reported side effects include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and stomach pain, with some users claiming to have developed more serious problems such as pancreatitis and kidney failure

Looking at YouGov Profiles data, though, it’s perhaps unsurprising that more people think weight loss drugs should be available through the NHS than not. Half (52%) of the British public agree that they’re usually trying to lose weight – falling to 46% of men and rising to 59% of women.

A third (35%) also agree that they feel pressure from the media to lose weight, falling to 25% of men and rising to 45% of women. Whether headlines about a weight-loss “wonder drug” add to this pressure or not remains to be seen, but they certainly haven’t hurt the share price of Wegovy manufacturer Novo Nordisk – now Europe’s most valuable company

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