A critical shortage of laxatives is currently impacting hospitals, pharmacies, and patients across the United States. According to a report by the WSJ, the increased demand for laxatives is linked to changes in daily routines and the rise of expensive weight loss pills like Ozempic, which has depleted supply chains and caused popular over-the-counter brands like MiraLAX, Ex-Lax, and Glycolax to experience production issues. The laxative shortage comes at a time when healthcare workers are already facing high rates of burnout and stress.
Causes For Laxative Shortage
As reported by the WSJ, the shift to hybrid work schedules and return to travel has disrupted many people’s diets, exercise, and bathroom routines. This disruption has led to a spike in demand for laxatives, as many Americans struggle with constipation and other gastrointestinal issues as a result of stress.
The ‘Budget Ozempic’
The New York Post reported that OTC laxatives are being touted on TikTok as “budget Ozempic” for weight loss. Ozempic’s active ingredient is semaglutide – a medication originally produced to help adults with type 2 diabetes. The medication helps with weight loss and has risen in popularity over the past year. Without insurance, Ozempic can cost close to $1,000.
TikTokers are using the hashtag #GutTok to share their laxative recipes for “budget Ozempic” amongst other videos promoting gut health and drawing attention to the link between gut health and mental health.
Mira lax should freaking sponsor me at this point lol
Sales of fiber are also on the rise and the target market is shifting to a younger demographic. For example, Benefiber, reported that 18-42 year olds are increasingly purchasing the product and reported double-digit growth recently.