Zepbound Faces Market Access, Supply Challenges

Zepbound (tirzepatide), Eli Lilly and Co.’s latest glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist product and Lilly’s first entrant in that category to be marketed only as a weight loss drug, garnered FDA approval on Nov. 8. The approval intensified already fierce public interest in using GLP-1s for weight loss — which could be bad news for payers, especially commercial plan sponsors, who were already concerned before Zepbound’s approval that the high cost and broad appeal of the drugs will cause premiums to spike.

A recent WTW survey found that 38% of employer-backed health plans cover weight loss drugs, while 22% are considering adding coverage. Mercer found that 42% of large employers cover GLP-1 drugs for weight loss. Brokers and employer plan sponsor trade groups have identified burgeoning GLP-1 utilization as a possible reason for future premium hikes.

© 2024 MMIT
Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has been a reporter for nearly a decade. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered a wide variety of topics in his hometown of Seattle, where he continues to live. Peter’s work has appeared in publications including The Atlantic and The Stranger. Peter attended Colby College.

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