VICTORIA: British Columbia’s health minister plans to announce how the government will ensure patients in the province will have secure access to the diabetes and weight loss drug Ozempic.

Adrian Dix said in January that the government would be investigating why almost 10 per cent of prescriptions for the drug in B.C. were filled for American citizens.

Dix said at the time that the dramatic increase in demand for the diabetes drug was partly because of social media “influencers” who spoke about its weight loss benefits.

He said he asked PharmaCare, the publicly funded program that helps B.C. residents pay for some prescription drugs, to review the drug’s use by U.S. residents.

Dix announced in January that PharmaCare coverage of Ozempic would be widened to more patients with Type 2 diabetes, although it wouldn’t be part of regular benefit coverage.

Several celebrities in the United States have promoted the drug, even though it’s not approved for weight loss, setting off demand and sparking a shortage.

With files from The Associated Press