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The Future of Weight Loss?

By: Jack Nevins

Eli Lilly, a drugmaker and pharmacist, has announced that patients seeking to lose weight through a drug prescription on a new website via a Telehealth provider. Lilly claims this innovative form of a prescription will help increase the access patients have to gaining effective drugs. This includes the company’s recently improved drug, Zepbound.

Two months after the Food and Drug Administration approved Lilly’s drug, Zepbound, the new website was born. Zepbound can now be recognized into the field of hierarchy for drugs labeled GLP-1 agonists. This includes another Eli Lilly drug, Mounjaro, along with Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and Ozempic. David Ricks, the CEO of Lilly, claims the new platform will make it more efficient for patients to access the drugs, cutting out the need to go to the doctor to get a prescription for the pharmacy to then fill it. Patients who are prescribed for Zepbound will be eligible for Lilly’s at-home prescription delivery service “It really hasn’t been an option that’s been provided before for prescription drugs,” states Ricks.

Although this new website sounds intriguing and possesses many new and innovative features, it also calls for several negatives and downsides. When buying a weight loss drug on the website, it will not include any price discounts, where the price will start at $1,000 for a month’s worth of supply. This portion will also not be covered by insurance, which makes it unrealistic for most Americans to purchase the drug. The website also requires patients to meet a certain standard for the drugs. Evan Richardson, the CEO of Form Health, stated that “patients who are prescribed a weight loss drug will meet over video with a doctor on an ongoing basis, typically once a month.” David Ricks then added, “neither Form Health nor its physicians will receive financial compensation for prescribing Lilly’s drug.”

Although Lilly is not directly producing Zepbound, doctors will be working on their own, independently to help prescribe any FDA-approved weight loss drug without being required to prescribe Zepbound to patients. Zepbound will on be available for Lilly’s at-home prescription delivery service, and will not be prescribed over the counter or by a doctor.

Now that more and more Telehealth services have begun to offer prescriptions similar to Lilly, LillyDirect will now face great competition. The amount of patients that receive their weight loss drugs and/or any medication through Telehealth services are greatly unclear. Although this number is unknown, and unclear, people who live too far from doctors or pharmacies will use this form of getting medication prescribed making this the future of drug prescription.