Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, the makers of Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro, are conducting clinical trials to prove that these drugs have health benefits beyond weight loss and diabetes management. These medications have shown promise in improving the overall well-being of patients, going beyond their primary functions.
However, the cost of weight loss medications remains a concern for many individuals. Insurance companies often do not cover the hefty price tag, which can exceed $1,000 for a month’s supply. This financial burden limits access to these medications for a large group of potential patients.
Furthermore, a 2003 law prevents Medicare from covering weight loss drugs, further restricting access to these potentially life-changing medications. This leaves a significant number of patients without options for managing their weight and related health conditions effectively.
In August, Novo Nordisk made a groundbreaking announcement. They became the first to demonstrate in a large clinical trial that their drugs provide health benefits beyond weight loss and diabetes management. Specifically, Ozempic has been shown to slow the progression of kidney disease in patients with Type 2 diabetes. This discovery opens up new possibilities for the use of these medications in treating other chronic diseases.
The maker of Mounjaro, Eli Lilly, is also making strides towards expanding the drug’s approved uses. They expect to obtain approval for weight loss late this year or early next year. Additionally, Eli Lilly is conducting several clinical trials to determine if their drugs can effectively treat obstructive sleep apnea, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and other chronic conditions.
Recognizing the potential benefits, some insurers and lawmakers are considering covering weight loss drugs. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, introduced in 2021, aimed to expand Medicare Part D coverage for weight loss medications. Unfortunately, it did not receive a vote before the term ended. However, the Congressional Budget Office is calling for new research to support the use of weight loss drugs under Medicare, highlighting the potential cost savings they could provide.
Employers are also beginning to recognize the value of covering weight loss drugs for their employees. These drugs can significantly improve the overall quality of life and well-being of their workforce. However, HR representatives and benefits consultants are seeking more data on the additional health benefits of these medications to justify the high cost before offering coverage to employees.
As clinical trials continue to unfold and more evidence emerges regarding the extended health benefits of weight loss drugs, it is hoped that access to these medications will increase. With potential coverage from insurance companies, Medicare, and employers, more individuals will have the opportunity to manage their weight and related health conditions effectively, ultimately improving their quality of life.
“Travel aficionado. Incurable bacon specialist. Tv evangelist. Wannabe internet enthusiast. Typical creator.”