Britain will be first to get new Mounjaro device, says Lilly

Britain will be first to get new Mounjaro device, says Lilly

Eli Lilly is just weeks away from launching Mounjaro in the UK, after getting approval from medicines regulator, the MHRA, for a new formulation of the drug as a treatment for diabetes and obesity.

The agency has approved a four-dose version of the drug, called Mounjaro KwikPen, which provides a month’s course of GLP-1 and GIP agonist tirzepatide. Great Britain will be the first major market to be supplied with the drug in the multi-shot pen injector format.

Like the earlier single-dose version, which was approved by the MHRA last year, the Mounjaro KwikPen can be used to treat adults with type 2 diabetes and for weight management in adult patients with obesity, as well as overweight individuals who also have weight-related health problems such as prediabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart problems.

“The public health importance of safe and effective treatments to help manage diabetes and obesity, which can have a significant impact on people’s health, is clear,” commented Julian Beach, MHRA’s interim executive director of healthcare quality and access.

“This approval enables access to the approved Mounjaro pen in a more convenient presentation of a month’s treatment, of one dose per week,” he added. It is to be used together with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Lilly decided to hold off on the launch of the drug in GB until Mounjaro KwikPen was cleared for marketing. The drug has already been recommended for NHS use as a treatment for diabetes by cost-effectiveness overseer NICE, making it an option for around 180,000 patients in England and Wales, with a decision on its use in obesity due in March.

In obesity, it will compete with Novo Nordisk’s GLP-1 agonist Wegovy (semaglutide), which launched in limited quantities in the UK last September and is also recommended by NICE. Novo Nordisk also sells semaglutide as Ozempic for diabetes in the UK.

In the US, tirzepatide is sold as Mounjaro for diabetes and under the Zepbound brand for overweight and obesity and is currently available in the original singe-dose pen-injector format.

Mounjaro has already been launched in other European markets, including Germany, Switzerland, and Poland, according to a Reuters report, but has initially been made available in vials only as Lilly waits for EU approval of the KwikPen format later this year. Northern Ireland still comes under the jurisdiction of the EU regulatory system.

News of the impending GB launch has been welcomed by patient organisation Diabetes UK, whose head of care, Douglas Twenefour, said: “Supporting people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight and manage their blood sugar levels is key to reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications, and tirzepatide…expands the range of treatment options available to help people achieve this.”