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Free Ozempic: Poland's Doctors Brace For "Onslaught" Of Weight Loss Patients For Discounted Drug

The Polish government released a list of medications last week that will now be reimbursed for people older than 65 and under 18. On the list is Ozempic, a drug initially intended for diabetes that has taken the world by storm due to its effectiveness for weight loss.

Free Ozempic: Poland's Doctors Brace For "Onslaught" Of Weight Loss Patients For Discounted Drug

Some Polish patients will receive Ozempic free of charge

Judyta Watoła

WARSAW — The Polish Health Ministry published a list of medications last week that will be free to Poles above the age of 65 and under 18. Seniors will be able to get 3,800 different medications for free, and minors will have access to 1,800.

The list of medications to be covered is wide in its scope, especially compared to past Polish health policy. When the current government introduced a list of free medicines for seniors aged 75+ in 2016, it was relatively modest, and contained just a few dozen substances, which were financed by the state budget.

The medications on the government’s list include modern drugs used for diabetic patients, such as flosin, dulaglutide (Trulicity). But what caught the attention of most was another pharmaceutical originally intended for diabetes: semaglutide, which has exploded on the market as Ozempic, with its runaway success in spurring rapid weight loss.

Experts are suggesting that some Poles might be tempted to get the medication “for a sick grandmother," but actually use it themselves. Ozempic has been flying off the shelves in Polish pharmacies also because of the relatively cheap price for the drug, which costs four times as much in Germany.

Reimbursement limits

The Polish Health Ministry has emphasized that drugs such as Ozempic will only be reimbursed to patients with type-2 diabetes who have a high risk of cardiovascular complications, difficulties in balancing blood glucose levels, and for those for whom other drugs do not work.

Patients who do not meet these requirements, even if they are over 65, will still pay the full cost, (around €89) according to the government.

The same rules around access to reimbursed medication will apply to children under 18. The list of free medicines for children and adolescents includes, among others: anti-inflammatory drugs acting on the intestines, insulins and insulin analogues, opioid analgesics, antiepileptic drugs and flu vaccines, which, prior to this new measure, were reimbursed at 50%.

Many patients have long been waiting for their drugs to be free.

In spite of this, family doctors are expecting an "onslaught" of patients in the coming days. Many patients have long been waiting for their drugs to be free, and either asked not to write multiple packages on their prescriptions, or deliberately delayed their visit to come in for prescriptions until the list of free drugs went into effect.

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food / travel

When Racism Poisons Italy's Culinary Scene

This is the case of chef Mareme Cisse, a black woman, who was called a slur after a couple found out that she was the one who would be preparing their meal.

Photo of Mareme Cisse cooking

Mareme Cisse in the kitchen of Ginger People&Food

Caterina Suffici


TURIN — Guess who's not coming to dinner. It seems like a scene from the American Deep South during the decades of segregation. But this happened in Italy, in this summer of 2023.

Two Italians, in their sixties, got up from the restaurant table and left (without saying goodbye, as the owner points out), when they declared that they didn't want to eat in a restaurant where the chef was what they called: an 'n-word.'

Racists, poor things. And ignorant, in the sense of not knowing basic facts. They don't realize that we are all made of mixtures, come from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. And that food, of course, are blends of different ingredients and recipes.

The restaurant is called Ginger People&Food, and these visitors from out of town probably didn't understand that either.

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