Eli Lilly's diabetes drug Mounjaro has gained the backing of Britain's healthcare cost-effectiveness watchdog, which said it would be a good option for patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said in draft final guidance that it estimates some 180,000 people could benefit from the new treatment.

The drug, also known as tirzepatide, has also been in the spotlight for its potential to treat obesity. A U.S. decision on its use for weight loss is expected later this year. Lilly's share price has surged, with investors betting that an approval will make it a blockbuster drug.

Final guidance from NICE is scheduled to be published on Oct. 11 after which the drug will be made available in the UK's National Health Service (NHS) within 90 days. NICE is the government agency that determines if medicines should be used in the NHS.

NICE in July asked Lilly for more data about the drug's benefits.

Its decision comes amid national shortages of Novo Nordisk's Ozempic, which is from the same drug class as Mounjaro and is approved in Britain for treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Lilly did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Advocacy group Diabetes UK told Reuters this week that Ozempic's increasing "off-label" use for weight-loss has hurt people with type 2 diabetes who have been prescribed the drug but have struggled to fill their prescriptions.

(Reporting by Lavanya Ahire and Nilutpal Timsina in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Maggie Fick; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Ros Russell)