Hundreds of community pharmacies have begun offering a tirzepatide injection as part of a new weight loss service beginning this week.

The move follows the approval of a new four-dose version of Mounjaro last month.

It is hoped that the new service will expand the availability of private weight-loss treatments amid ongoing shortages of alternatives Wegovy (semaglutide) and Saxenda (liraglutide).

The active ingredient of Mounjaro – tirzepatide – helps to reduce high sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, as well as regulating a patient’s appetite, and is also used as a weight-loss treatment.

Last month, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved Mounjaro KwikPen, a new version of the treatment which is delivered in monthly doses through weekly injections.

Hundreds of community pharmacies launched a Mounjaro service this week.

This included 700 independent pharmacies partnering with service packages provider Pharmadoctor, multiples Boots, Asda, Superdrug, and online pharmacies Pharmacy2U, Simple Online Pharmacy and LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.

Pharmadoctor chief executive Graham Thoms said that Wegovy accounts for over 96% of all weight loss treatments provided by pharmacists delivering its Weight Management Service.

But he added: ‘It has been widely reported to us that the ongoing Wegovy and Saxenda supply constraints are resulting in some pharmacies turning patients away and preventing pharmacies reaching the full potential of their service.’

The inclusion of Mounjaro as another treatment option within its weight loss service package ‘will now enable Pharmadoctor and its partner pharmacists to realise the full potential of the service and support exponentially more patients to reach a healthier weight’, Mr Thoms added.

And community pharmacist Mark Burdon, who provides weight management services, said that he was pleased about the addition of competition in the market.

He told The Pharmacist that the option of providing Mounjaro would mean 'more choice for patients, more access to supplies (hopefully!) and another treatment option.'

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Superdrug said the multiple would be providing the service privately through its Online Doctor service from early March, due to current ‘very limited supplies’ of the drug and the prioritisation of NHS patients.

However, Superdrug’s private Mounjaro service was then in fact launched yesterday (15 February), costing patients between £215 and £245 per four-week course.

A spokesperson for Superdrug told The Pharmacist that the multiple was able to launch the private service yesterday as stock became available earlier.