News of Wegovy’s Cardiac Benefits Could Make Coverage More Compelling

Demand for Novo Nordisk A/S’s Wegovy (semaglutide) may spike even higher following the Danish pharma giant’s Aug. 8 announcement that the diabetes drug, recently approved by the FDA for use as a weight loss treatment, “reduces the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events by 20%” in patients with obesity. Clinicians and pharmacists say the drug’s broad appeal became even greater with the news but suggest that insurers and plan sponsors are likely to continue to erect access barriers to Wegovy given its high cost and clinical limitations.

Novo said a double-blinded trial “compared subcutaneous once-weekly semaglutide 2.4 mg with placebo as an adjunct to standard of care for prevention of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) over a period of up to five years,” and “achieved its primary objective by demonstrating a statistically significant and superior reduction in MACE of 20% for people treated with semaglutide 2.4 mg compared to placebo.”

© 2024 MMIT
Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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