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2024-05-22| Trending

Hims & Hers Health Inc. Tipping the Scales of the Weight Loss Market — and Wall Street is Loving it!

by Bernice Lottering
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Hims and Hers Health Inc. launches GLP-1 compound weight loss drug, Semaglutide, at 85% cheaper than Ozempic, competing with Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk in the weight loss market.

Hims & Hers is shaking up the weight loss drug market by offering affordable compounded GLP-1 injections. This initiative aims to bypass the high costs and shortages associated with brand-name drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy. The company’s stock surged following the announcement, reflecting investor confidence in this new venture.

Writing the Playbook on Affordable Access to Weight Loss Solutions

In the short span of a few years, Hims & Hers Health Inc. has hit nearly $1 billion in sales by making the purchase of popular drugs like Viagra easy and affordable through selling generic versions. Now, it’s leveraging this successful approach to enter the latest trend in healthcare: weight-loss injections.

As usual, a significant aspect of the company’s appeal is the discount. Ozempic and Wegovy, produced by Novo Nordisk, cost around $936 and $1,350, respectively, for a month of injections without insurance. Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zepbound is similarly priced. However, with Hims & Hers offering compounded GLP-1 injections that include the same active ingredient as Wegovy for $199 a month, the company’s in demand plan is undercutting big pharma by up to 85%.

These compounded injections, while not identical to their branded counterparts, provide an accessible alternative for consumers. This move aims to help users navigate the high costs and shortages associated with branded weight loss drugs as stated in a Hims press release. The company’s proactive approach in offering these compounded medications is a strategic step to meet the growing demand in the weight loss market, with the organization reaping the benefits of this effort through its 38% stock increase on Monday – its largest intraday move in over three years.

The Legal Landscape of Compounded Weight Loss Medications 

Hims can provide prescription weight-loss drugs due to U.S. regulations that permit pharmacies to create copycat versions of medications, a practice known as “compounding.”  Although not FDA-approved, compounded drugs are legally produced to address drug shortages, enabling pharmacies to create these medications when manufacturers cannot meet demand or need to adjust formulations for patient-specific needs, such as removing an allergenic ingredient. Hims & Hers’ compounded GLP-1 injections are created under strict oversight, ensuring safety and legality. Chief Medical Officer at Hims & Hers, Dr. Pat Carroll, assures that the compounding process is safe and legal, partnering with a leading U.S. manufacturer registered with the FDA.

Recently, the compounding of weight-loss drugs has surged as Lilly and Novo have struggled to meet the high demand for their new medications. Despite this growth, there is little publicly available information on the number of people using these compounded GLP-1 drugs. GLP-1 mimics incretin, a gut hormone that aids in digestion and blood glucose control, essentially helping the body feel full. Given this specific mechanism of action, incretin mimetics such as GLP-1 are widely popular in the treatment of obesity and diabetes. Here, the versions from Novo and Lilly are currently patent-protected, preventing the production of mass-produced generics. However, as long as these shortages persist, compounded pharmacies can continue to produce these drugs on an increasingly larger scale. 

Currently, there are multiple lawsuits against the pharma giants for alleged inadequate or under- reporting of side effects associated with GLP-1 medications like Mounjaro and Ozempic, resulting in numerous hospitalizations and surgeries. While facing these lawsuits, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk have initiated legal actions against compounding pharmacies, seen by some as efforts to deflect accountability for the adverse effects, blaming the compounding manufacturers for creating sub-par medications that have caused the side effects. 

Read more: The Legal Battlefield of Weight-Loss Drugs: Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk on the Defensive

Market Impact of Hims and Hers Health Inc.

Despite the tense legal battlefield of weight-loss drugs, the Hims & Hers’ initiative highlights a broader trend in telehealth companies tapping into the lucrative weight loss market, further underscored by the notable rise in their stock prices. Companies like Ro have also ventured into compounded weight loss drugs, prescribing compounded semaglutide as an alternative when brand-name drugs were unavailable. 

Hims & Hers plans to expand its offerings to include compounded tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound. These efforts reflect the company’s commitment to providing affordable weight loss solutions amidst ongoing shortages of branded medications. “It’s gonna be a big part of the weight loss category going forward,” said Hims Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dudum in an interview. “Our belief is that compounding can be done very safely, if done correctly.”

The company’s approach to making weight loss drugs accessible is already showing promising results. Their weight loss division, which includes off-label prescriptions of drugs like metformin and naltrexone, is rapidly growing. According to Dudum, these offerings are Hims’ fastest-growing division and are projected to surpass $100 million in revenue by next year. The company’s stock has already increased by more than 60% this year, even before the latest weight-loss news. The market’s response to Hims & Hers’ announcement, with a significant stock price increase, indicates strong investor confidence. The company’s emphasis on affordable and accessible weight loss drugs may reshape the market as it expands its offerings and influences the evolving landscape of weight loss treatments. Blake Shelton weight loss, Lainey Wilson weight loss, Scott Disick weight loss, ozempic weight loss, ozempic, ozempic for weight loss, weight loss medication, weight loss diet, dj burns weight loss, dj burns, lavell crawford weight loss, lavell crawford, lemon balm drink, his and hers weight loss

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