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Packing containers of Wegovy made by Novo Nordisk are seen at a pharmacy in London, Britain March 8, 2024. 

Hollie Adams | Reuters

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Demand for weight loss drugs is booming within the U.S. regardless of their limited insurance coverage and roughly $1,000 month-to-month worth tags earlier than reductions. 

However some sufferers are keen to pay extra out of pocket for these remedies than others — and that want is strongly correlated to their annual earnings.

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That is based on a current survey from Evercore ISI centered on GLP-1s, a brand new class of medicines used to deal with Sort 2 diabetes and weight problems. Between Jan. 24 and Feb. 20, the agency surveyed greater than 600 members who’re at present taking a GLP-1, contemplating the remedy or have taken it previously however now not do. 

The findings on how a lot sufferers are keen to spend underscore considerations about fairness in entry to the breakthrough medication whereas insurance coverage protection is sparse.

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GLP-1s embrace Novo Nordisk‘s blockbuster weight reduction injection Wegovy and diabetes counterpart Ozempic, together with Eli Lilly’s standard weight reduction therapy Zepbound and diabetes injection Mounjaro. 

A month-to-month package deal of a GLP-1 prices between $900 and $1,350 earlier than insurance coverage and different rebates. Each Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have savings programs that goal to cut back out-of-pocket prices for weight reduction medication, no matter whether or not a affected person has industrial insurance coverage protection. 

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The bulk — practically 60% — of individuals surveyed with annual incomes of greater than $250,000 stated the utmost worth they’re keen to pay out of pocket for a GLP-1 is greater than $300 monthly. 

Solely about 4% of individuals with annual incomes of lower than $75,000 stated the identical factor. Of that group, 64% stated the utmost worth they’re keen to pay out of pocket for a GLP-1 is $50 monthly or much less. 

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The utmost individuals at present on a GLP-1 stated they’re keen to pay out of pocket monthly was roughly consistent with what they really paid for therapy, based on the survey. The very best worth respondents would settle for paying skewed decrease amongst those that used to take a GLP-1 or are pondering of taking the drug. 

Greater than half of individuals at present taking a GLP-1 stated they’re paying a month-to-month worth of $50 or much less out of pocket. Practically 75% of those that used to take one of many medication stated they spent the identical quantity. 

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A small share of each teams paid greater than $750 out of pocket monthly for a GLP-1.

The survey additionally requested respondents how lengthy they stayed on the medication.

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Notably, greater than 80% of those that used to take a therapy have been solely on a remedy for 12 months or much less. Some individuals stopped on account of price, whereas others stopped a therapy as a result of they hit their weight reduction aim or skilled unwanted side effects.

That untimely stoppage by some sufferers is one concern of sure insurers hesitant to cowl them.

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Nonetheless, practically half of people who find themselves at present taking GLP-1s stated they intend to remain on the medication completely. Solely 10% of these pondering of taking a therapy stated the identical factor. Of that group, greater than 70% stated they intend to remain on a GLP-1 till they attain their weight reduction aim.

The survey additionally requested members whether or not they would restart taking a GLP-1 in the event that they regain weight after stopping the drug. Nearly all of sufferers throughout all teams — these at present on a GLP-1, pondering of it, or who used to take one — stated “sure.” 

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Amongst those that used to take a GLP-1, 42% stated they gained “some” weight again after stopping therapy. Round 13% stated they gained most of it again, whereas 23% stated they gained all of it again. One other 23% stated they remained at a decrease weight after stopping the drug.

That weight regain is in step with what has been noticed in some scientific trials on medication comparable to Wegovy and Zepbound.

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One other a part of the survey requested members about whether or not taking a GLP-1 affected their consuming and consuming habits. 

Greater than 70% of respondents reporting consuming much less when taking a GLP-1, no matter whether or not they have pre-existing circumstances. That refers to different well being issues, comparable to diabetes, bronchial asthma or hypertension.

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The survey discovering is not any shock: GLP-1s work by mimicking a hormone produced within the intestine to suppress an individual’s urge for food and regulate blood sugar. Some remedies, comparable to Zepbound, mimic multiple intestine hormone.

Greater than half of these with out preexisting circumstances stated they drank much less alcohol when taking a GLP-1. Round 27% stated the therapy had no impact on their alcohol consumption, whereas 22% stated they abstain from consuming. 

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A higher share — 51% — of these with preexisting circumstances stated they abstain from alcohol. The rest stated they consumed much less alcohol when taking a GLP-1. 

A number of studies have demonstrated that sure GLP-1s curb alcohol consumption in rodents and monkeys. However extra analysis is required in people.

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— CNBC’s Gabriel Cortés contributed to this report

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