Denmark's largest health insurer drops weight-loss drug coverage as demand soars

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's largest private health insurer Sygeforsikring Danmark, which insures roughly half the country's population, will stop reimbursing weight loss medication from January next year due to high demand, it said on Friday.

The growing popularity of costly new weight-loss drugs has prompted insurers and health authorities to reconsider whether they can subsidise anti-obesity medications, particularly since lifetime use might be required to keep lost weight off.

Since the start of the year, the increase in subsidies for weight loss medicine has reached a level that makes it unsustainable for the company, the insurer said in a statement.

Members that have been granted individual reimbursements by the Danish Medicines Agency through their doctor were exempt from the decision, said the insurer, which has 2.7 million members.

Diabetes and obesity drug maker Novo Nordisk launched its highly popular Wegovy weight loss drug in the country in December, but the health authorities do not reimburse patients for it, saying costs are too high compared to the benefits.

The public health care system in Denmark does not reimburse any weight-loss drugs.

(This story has been refiled to add dropped letter in paragraph 1)

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard, Louise Rasmussen; Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Kirsten Donovan)