The Economist article on Mounjaro and Wegovy

A few months ago The Economist devoted its entire front cover to the weight management medications which are making such a difference to those living with overweight and obesity. This week, the paper has revisited the subject once again.

In recent years, Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company known for its diabetes medications, has risen to prominence with its weight-loss drug, Ozempic (semaglutide). Clinical trials have shown that Ozempic can lead to significant weight loss of up to 15% of body mass, propelling Novo Nordisk's market value to new heights.

Eli Lilly, a main competitor with a similar drug called Mounjaro (tirzepatide), has also seen substantial growth in its market value. The potential for weight-management drugs like these has attracted attention, with global sales estimated to reach $77 billion by 2030, compared to $2.4 billion in 2022. Several pharmaceutical companies and biotech startups are now investing in developing similar drugs. The industry is also focused on creating oral alternatives to injections and reducing side effects to make these drugs more accessible to patients. Furthermore, efforts are underway to make the drugs more effective, with some trials showing potential health benefits beyond weight loss. 

However, pricing remains a concern for payers, such as healthcare systems and insurers, with current costs ranging from €170 to €357 in Europe and around $1,350 in the United States. Competition and innovations in delivery and tolerability could impact pricing in the long run, but for now, demand for these drugs continues to outstrip supply, leading to robust profits in the short term.

Read the full article on The Economist here  (subscription required)


Published: 02 Oct  2023