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[Webinar Recap] Should Your Organization Cover Popular Weight Loss Drugs?

oswaldcompanies May 24, 2024

How they impact your employees and the company’s bottom line

You’ve likely seen the names. Ozempic®, Zepbound®, Rybelsus®. They’re called GLP-1 drugs, which were developed to control type 2 diabetes but are being taken by many to lose weight.

The big question is whether an organization’s employee benefits plan should cover the drug as a weight loss tool.

Unison Risk Advisors hosted a panel discussion with the following people in the medical field. Dr. Bruce Rogen, chief medical officer of the Cleveland Clinic; Dr. Raul Rosenthal, regional chair of the Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease & Surgical Institute; Kelly Prymicz, co-founder and vice president of clinical strategy for Foundational Pharmacy Strategies; and Christine Johnson, co-founder and pharmacy practice leader for Foundational Pharmacy Strategies.

They discussed the implications of GLP-1 drugs on individuals and organizations. Watch the full webinar here. Passcode: GLP1med2024!

There are 124 drugs in the development pipeline for weight management, but GLP-1 drugs such as Ozempic are receiving the most attention. The reason is they are hyped heavily in TV advertisements and the media continues to discuss these drugs as individuals report losing weight in a short time period.

That is causing more people to request the drugs from their physicians. The problem is that many employers still don’t cover them for weight management.

According to a 2023 study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, only 27% of organizations are covering these drugs for weight loss and 13% are considering it. Another 10% said they do not plan to cover the drugs for weight loss.

The experts on this panel agreed that companies will eventually have to cover the drugs, so they should devise a coverage plan now before the federal government mandates coverage.

How will GLP-1s help?

These drugs have proven to be a successful tool for many to lose weight, but they’re expensive.

However, if an obese person loses weight, they could lower their chances of having cardiovascular issues and other health problems, thereby reducing overall health costs in the long run.

Though there are many things to consider before deciding whether to cover GLP-1 drugs for weight loss, the experts agreed that a full weight management program would need to be in place. The drugs should not be used as the sole method of weight management because, once the person stops taking the drug, they will regain the weight lost.

Access the full webinar here to learn much more about how GLP-1 drugs can and should be covered. Passcode: GLP1med2024!