Six Reasons Why It’s So Hard to Get Your Weight-Loss Drugs

Supported by Six Reasons Why It’s So Hard to Get Your Weight-Loss Drugs An array of obstacles makes it difficult for patients to obtain Wegovy or Zepbound. Finding Wegovy is “like winning the lottery,” one nurse practitioner said. Reed Abelson and The reporters interviewed patients, obesity medicine specialists, pharmacists, employers, insurance executives and industry analysts. Talk to people who have tried to get one of the wildly popular weight-loss drugs, like Wegovy, and they’ll probably have a story about the hoops they had to jump through to get their medication — if they could get it at all. Emily Weaver, a nurse practitioner in Cary, N.C., said she told her patients that finding Wegovy was “like winning the lottery.” Here are six reasons why. 1. Demand is very high. Fueled in part by TikTok videos and celebrity testimonials, people are increasingly seeking prescriptions for appetite-suppressing medications. The drugs in this class have long been used to treat diabetes but more recently have been recognized for their extraordinary ability to help patients lose weight. The medications are injected weekly and have sticker prices as high as $16,000 a year. About 3.8 million people in the United States — four times the number two years ago — are now taking the most popular weight-loss drugs, according to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, an industry data provider. Some of these prescriptions are for diabetes. The medicines are Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy (the same drug sold under different brand names), and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound (also the same drug).

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