Navigating the weight loss minefield: watch out for these pricing tricks

Watch out for these pricing tricks which some companies use and make sure you're comparing properly across the different types of drugs, dosing schedules and delivery mechanisms

What you need to know

Most weight loss medications work the same way - they are taken at regular intervals (daily or weekly) and have a period where the dose increases to allow the body to become accustomed to the drug, called “dose titration”. Some companies take advantage of this stage to imply a lower, permanent price

The truth behind “monthly pricing”

The Saxenda dose increases each week for the first five weeks. Here is the dosing schedule

Week 1: 0.6mg

Week 2: 1.2 mg

Week 3: 1.8mg

Week 4: 2.4mg

Week 5: 3.0mg

Each Saxenda pen contains the same amount of liquid which means that each pen lasts longer in the early days of taking the drug, as less is coming out each day. 

So you need FOUR pens for the first month, and FIVE for every other month. .

This allows companies to present a lower monthly price for the first month - normally the equivalent of four pens - than all other months. 

Make sure to read their terms and conditions or the exact pricing of your subscription and avoid being surprised by a sudden increase in your monthly charge. At CheqUp we are transparent to our customers about pricing: no hassle, no surprises. 

Beware of pricing “per pen” or “per month”

Saxenda, Trulicity and Wegovy / Ozempic are all administered through an injection pen. 

To show “lower” prices,  many companies advertise the price of a single pen, even though they know you will require four or five pens for each 30 days. 

For Saxenda, to calculate the monthly price simply multiply the price of each pen by five. So, if the price of the pen is £50, the monthly price is £250.

For Trulicity and Wegovy, four pens are required each month. Tto calculate the monthly price simply multiply the price of each pen by four. So, if the price of the pen is £50, the monthly price is £200.

Cheaper by the dozen, or 15?

When comparing headline prices, also be aware that many companies provide a low price per pen but only if you buy a large number of pens. One company we’ve seen is advertising a low price for Saxenda pens - if you buy 15. In principle, this is a three month supply - but very few people can afford to pay £600 out of pocket in a single transaction and the clear intention of this kind of pricing is to present a lower price for a product which is simply not an option for most people. 

Remember to add the weight management service

All weight management medications can have a serious impact on the metabolic system, the dose increase stage can be particularly difficult, and there are significant known side effects. This is why they MUST be prescribed by a doctor and should be taken with the support of a proper weight management service, of the sort provided by CheqUp. 

Don’t go it alone! Make sure you have the support of real people, not chatbots……and take this into account when comparing prices. 

To know more about why you need a “Tier 3” weight management service, read our blog here.(

A word on Wegovy…….for when it is launched

There are two important things to know about Wegovy, for when it is eventually launched in the UK. 

First, Wegovy is also delivered in a pen, like Saxenda. Also like Saxenda, there is a dose increase stage, albeit lasting five months not five weeks. But the difference is that each pen is individually designed to give four injections of the correct dose. This means that you need the same number of pens in month one as in month six.

But, here's the second thing. The lower doses of Wegovy (0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1.0mg) are priced lower than the upper two doses (1.7mg and 2.4mg).  So, beware of companies implying a permanently low price for Wegovy which actually only runs for the first three months.

Published: 28 April 2023