Will new trial results change insurers' minds about weight loss drugs?

A new trial that showed weight-loss drug Wegovy has benefits for cardiovascular health could make it more difficult for insurers to justify not covering the drugs, columnist Lisa Jarvis wrote in Bloomberg Aug. 8. 

A trial showed patients without Type 2 diabetes who took Wegovy were less likely to experience major adverse cardiac events, drug maker Novo Nordisk said Aug. 8. 

Shauna Levy, MD, medical director at Tulane School of Medicine's Bariatric and Weight Loss Center in New Orleans, told Bloomberg the drugs can improve patients' blood pressure and cholesterol. 

"Data like this makes it even more challenging for employers and hopefully the government to ignore the benefits of these drugs," Dr. Levy said. 

Many employers are hesitant to cover the cost of GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, which can cost more than $10,000 per patient each year. As of June, 69 percent of patients do not have insurance coverage for GLP-1s for anti-obesity or diabetes, a 50 percent decline in coverage since December 2022, according to data from weight management platform Found. 

Medicare is currently barred from paying for any weight loss drugs for beneficiaries. Legislation introduced in July aims to overturn the ban. 

Read Bloomberg's full report here. 

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