Out of Stock

That Was Quick: Zepbound Supply Running Short

We were hopeful. Shortly after launch, it seemed like Lilly was keeping up with the demand for Zepbound – the tirzepatide brand they’re selling for obesity. But it turns out that the overwhelming need for effective obesity medicine is outstripping the supply that both Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk can offer. Lilly told reporters on Friday that the Zepbound supply is running short:

“While Lilly continues to manufacture and ship all doses of Zepbound, due to the unprecedented demand for these medicines, some patients may experience difficulty when trying to fill their prescription at their pharmacy.”

Dare we say it? Perhaps these shortages were Zepbound to happen.

Not Yet on the FDA Drug Shortage List

Neither the FDA nor the ASHP currently report the Zepbound form of tirzepatide to be in shortage. For the Mounjaro brand, though, both organizations report current shortages. It may be only a matter of time before Zepbound lands on these lists.

It would seem that Lilly and Novo have a tiger by the tail.

For years, the epidemiologists have been telling us that this medical problem – obesity – has been growing dramatically. But at the same time, people living with it have had limited options. People are slow to accept surgery, so it is vastly underutilized. Previous generations of drugs for obesity have had a reputation for too much risk and too little benefit.

But with newer obesity medicines, those calculations have seemingly changed.

Anti-Hunger Games?

As a result, people who devote their working lives to delivering obesity care are faced with chaos. Obesity Medicine Association President Angela Fitch told Bloomberg recently:

“Patients are mad at my staff, my staff are upset.

“It’s like The Hunger Games. Well, actually more like the anti-Hunger Games.”

She described patients foraging at multiple pharmacies in search of one that could fill their prescription. One patient taking tirzepatide recently told us that she has to switch between different forms of GLP-1 agonists just to keep the acute symptoms of her medical problems in check. This is clearly not an ideal situation or something that any medical professional would recommend.

But this is what faces patients in the real world who have discovered that effective obesity care can make a big difference in their lives. The inadequate supply of semaglutide and tirzepatide is wreaking havoc.

We hope that the extraordinary investments Novo and Lilly are making in their supply chains will bring some order to this chaos. It can’t happen too soon.

Click here, here, and here for more on the latest news about Zepbound supply issues.

Out of Stock, photograph by Victor Grigas, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


April 2, 2024

One Response to “That Was Quick: Zepbound Supply Running Short”

  1. April 02, 2024 at 1:26 pm, Sarah Brooke Mueller said:

    This didn’t come too long after Oprah’s show featuring weight loss drugs.