If Americans Just Ate Healthy & Exercised, Then Politicians Wouldn't Be Clamoring About $1,000 Weight Loss Drugs "Bankrupting" Medicare

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Mar 29, 2024 - 01:40 AM

If the food-industrial complex had not flooded the nation's food supply with junk, if the government actively encouraged healthy lifestyles, and if efforts to address the obesity crisis didn't rely solely on 'miracle weight loss drugs' pushed by the pharmaceutical industry, then maybe - just maybe - politicians wouldn't be clamoring on Capitol Hill, or the elderly (somewhat senile) president in the White House, about out-of-control drug prices.

But since common sense has vanished in America and folks have given up on Peloton bikes for $1,000 monthly injections of "Wegovy," the blockbuster weight loss treatment (also a diabetes drug called "Ozempic") from Novo Nordisk, then socialists, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), wouldn't be reviving the discussion about high drug prices. 

"Today, a new Yale study found that Ozempic costs less than $5 a month to manufacture. And yet, Novo Nordisk charges Americans nearly $1,000 a month for this drug, while the same exact product can be purchased for just $155 a month in Canada and just $59 in Germany," Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders cited the study "Estimated Sustainable Cost-Based Prices for Diabetes Medicines," conducted by researchers at Yale University, King's College Hospital in London, and the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders. It was published in the journal JAMA Network Open on Wednesday. 

In the study, researchers found Novo could produce the blockbuster drug for 89 cents to $4.73 per month, as opposed to the monthly retail price of about $1,349 for Wegovy, a semaglutide injection. 

"As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), I am calling on Novo Nordisk to lower the list price of Ozempic — and the related drug Wegovy — in America to no more than what they charge for this drug in Canada," Sander said. 

He added: "The American people are sick and tired of paying, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs while the pharmaceutical industry enjoys huge profits."

Sanders warned: "This outrageously high price has the potential to bankrupt Medicare, the American people and our entire health care system.

Analysts have forecasted that the market for weight-loss drugs could reach at least $100 billion a year by the end of the decade, with the production of Wegovy and Eli Lilly's Zepbound and Mounjaro. And a decent chunk of the weight loss drugs will likely be covered by Medicare. 

"The profit margin is immense" on weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Melissa Barber, a public health economist at Yale and the study's lead author, told Bloomberg. She added, "There should be a conversation in policy about what is a fair price."

Rounding back to the intro of this note, Americans should eat better and exercise. Then, we don't have to rely on the pharmaceutical-industrial complex. What's odd is the government does not promote 'common sense' healthy lifestyles. Why is that? Are their donors pharma companies?