Ozempic and Wegovy Are More Expensive and Less Effective Than Gastroplasty


There’s no question that new injected medicines like Wegovy and Ozempic are helping a lot of people who are overweight or have obesity shed excess pounds. But a new study suggests that the high price tag for these drugs may mean they’re not always the most cost-effective option.

For the study, researchers did a cost-benefit analysis comparing two treatment options for people with obesity: weekly injections of semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic) or a minimally invasive weight loss procedure known as endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. They used mathematical models to estimate the potential costs, weight loss, and changes in quality of life for each of these options, and in the scenario of no weight loss treatment at all.

Semaglutide did appear more cost-effective over the first year of treatment, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.

But over five years, people lost more weight and had lower medical costs with endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty than with semaglutide, the study found.

For semaglutide to be just as cost-effective as this procedure, the annual cost of the drug would need to be reduced by more than $10,000 — from $13,618 per year to $3,591, researchers calculated.


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