Novo Nordisk CEO to testify in US Senate hearing on high cost of Ozempic, Wegovy

Novo Nordisk’s Chief Executive Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen talks to a journalist in Copenhagen

(Reuters) -The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions said on Friday that Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Jorgensen has agreed to testify voluntarily in a hearing focusing on U.S. prices for weight loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy.

A U.S. Senate health panel vote that was scheduled for its June 18 meeting, to decide whether to subpoena Novo to answer questions about U.S. prices for the blockbuster drugs, is no longer necessary and will be canceled, Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the committee, said.

The subpoena would have required Novo President Doug Langa to testify at a July 10 hearing.

Jorgensen will testify before the committee, and the hearing will be held in early September.

Novo charges Americans $1,349 a month for Wegovy, while it can be purchased for $140 in Germany and $92 in the UK, Sanders said.

"The Committee looks forward to Mr. Jorgensen explaining why Americans are paying up to ten or 15 times more for these medications than people in other countries," Sanders added.

In April, Sanders sent a letter to Langa seeking more information on U.S. prices for the two drugs.

Novo responded with a letter in May blaming the U.S. health system for the high prices, according to a report.

(Reporting by Puyaan Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)