Wegovy, an injectable prescription weight reduction medicine that has helped individuals with obesity.
Michael Siluk | UCG | Getty Images
Novo Nordisk on Thursday said 80% of U.S. patients with insurance coverage who take its highly popular weight reduction treatment Wegovy are paying lower than $25 a month for the drug.
The remarks suggest that many insured Americans haven’t got to shoulder the total cost of a monthly package of Wegovy, which has a list price of around $1,350. It also comes as many U.S. health insurers balk at the intense cost of Wegovy and other obesity drugs while dropping them from their plans, at the same time as demand for those treatments soar nationwide and outpace supply.
But Doug Langa, Novo Nordisk’s vp for North America, said on a third-quarter earnings call Thursday that the majority major health plans and pharmacy profit managers are covering Wegovy.
Langa acknowledged that some employers are opting out of coverage but noted that the corporate overall is seeing more insurers opt in to cover the weekly injection.
He estimated that about 50 million Americans with obesity may very well be eligible for Wegovy coverage under their health plans.
“Directionally, we’re heading in the precise direction and our focus shall be continuing on securing employer coverage in addition to stronger access for Americans overall,” Langa said in the course of the call.
Nonetheless, the $25 out-of-pocket cost will likely add up over time. Most patients need to take Wegovy for several months to see — and sustain — significant weight reduction.
Wegovy, for instance, results in 15% weight reduction after 68 weeks, in accordance with clinical trials on the drug.
The longer treatment duration can be one reason why some health insurers are hesitant to cover Wegovy and similar weight reduction drugs, which usually work by mimicking a hormone produced within the gut to suppress an individual’s appetite.
At roughly $1,000 monthly on average for medications which might be typically taken for months or perhaps a 12 months, the drugs are straining insurers’ budgets.
But Novo Nordisk is hoping that recent data demonstrating the center health advantages of Wegovy will put more pressure on insurers to cover the medication and similar weight reduction treatments.
A recent late-stage trial found that Wegovy reduced the chance of cardiovascular events resembling heart attack and stroke by 20%. The outcomes suggest that Wegovy and similar obesity and diabetes medications like those in development by Eli Lilly and others could have long-lasting health advantages beyond shedding unwanted kilos.
Novo Nordisk Chief Financial Officer Karsten Munk Knudsen told CNBC on Thursday that Wegovy could receive expanded approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for reducing the chance of heart problems inside six months.
Greater than 2 in 5 adults have obesity, in accordance with the National Institutes of Health.
About 1 in 11 adults have severe obesity.
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