Weight loss drug costs could go ‘out of control,’ says expert


October 25, 2023—People’s access to new weight loss drugs is in the hands of drugs companies, pharmacy benefit managers, and health insurers that together determine prices and coverage—leaving experts wondering about the future of health costs and outcomes among patients with obesity.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, was among the experts quoted in an October 22 New York Times article about the unknown costs of drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.

“You can see this ballooning completely out of control,” Willett said in the article, reflecting on the 50% increase the drugs could potentially add to U.S. health care spending.

As more options for weight loss drugs come onto the market, current soaring prices may decline. And in any case, some have argued that the drugs are cost-effective even at their current prices of up to $1,300 a month, based on their health benefits, according to the article.

Still, it’s also possible that prices haven’t yet reached their peak.

“I don’t think anyone can predict exactly where this will go,” Willett said, “because competition may reduce prices, and the uptake is still not clear, but the potential cost could go way beyond anything we have seen.”

Read The New York Times article: Ozempic and Wegovy Don’t Cost What You Think They Do