New Rx Cost Driver – Off Label Drug Treatment for Obesity

A $900 per month drug with a $25 co-pay seems like a great buy for plan members fighting obesity. But it only takes a few plan members to drive up a plan’s drug spend to budget busting levels………..

Article Referred by Bob Calvisi

The following are highlights (click on the link below to read full article):

A new class of drugs for weight loss could end obesity. They promise riches for drug makers, huge savings for health systems and better lives for millions

Social media is awash with pictures of delighted patients flaunting before-and-after snaps that prove just how effective these novel medicines are.

Eli Lilly is selling a treatment drug for obesity, called Mounjaro (tirzepatide) In trials, recipients shed an astonishing 20% of their weight on average. An investment banker thinks it could become the “biggest drug ever”. He says that by 2031 the market for these drugs, collectively known as GLP1 agonists, will exceed $150bn. That is on a par with all drugs to treat cancer, sales of which amounted to about $185bn in 2021.

Novo Nordisk began selling semaglutide, the first GLP1 agonist, in 2017 under the brand name Ozempic, to treat diabetes. But having noticed how many of the recipients slimmed down dramatically, it soon began testing the drug as a weight loss treatment. Drug Administration approved its use for 12 to 18-year-olds as well.

Mounjaro, in trials stimulated an astonishing 20% reduction in body weight on average. Many other drug companies, sensing a possible bonanza, are working on similar products.

A bigger drawback, however, is that those who start taking the new drugs are likely to depend on them for life.

Lifelong commitments can be expensive, however. Taking Wegovy costs around $1,300 a month in America and Ozempic about $900.

The market will clearly bear this: so great is the demand for the drugs for weight loss, many diabetics complain, that they cannot get hold of them for their original purpose.