The celebrity weight loss biohack roasted by Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel, shared by Elon Musk, denied by the Kardashians 🙅♀️ and plumping up on TikTok may have triggered global shortages of some popular injectable drugs, but is there any fat to the fat-zapping fad?
In 2005, AstraZeneca (AZN) was the first to gain approval for a type 2 diabetes treatment to lower blood sugar levels and suppress appetite with a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1) injection, called Byetta. 💉 They’ve since released Bydureon and Bydureon BCise, and today Big Pharma has bulked up in the fight against diabetes. Eli Lilly (LLY) produces injectables Trulicity and Mounjaro, and Novo Nordisk (NVO - ADR) makes Ozempic, Wegovy, Saxenda and Victoza, and oral pill, Rybelsus, all brand names for semaglutide, tirzepatide, liraglutide, exenatide and dulaglutide. 💊
But it’s the weight loss effect of these incretin hormone drugs - with users losing up to 15-20% of their body weight - that has TikTokers dancing. 💃
Scientific modelling projects that nearly 14% of the US population could have diabetes by 2030, and 18% by 2060 - currently that number is 10.5% in the US and around 5% in Aotearoa. So it’s unlikely the GLP-1 drug category will slim down anytime soon. Even Oprah’s purse could get rotund. 👛 The queen of all media owns a slice of Weight Watchers (WW), which last week announced they’re scaling up, with plans to acquire telehealth prescription drug company, Sequence, briefly bloating WW’s stock 50%. Could a future WW consult come with a side of Ozempic? 🍽️
As the slim-fad helps fatten drugmakers, investors have seen the bulge hit their portfolios. Since the trend started gaining weight, from January 2021, AstraZeneca’s stock has piled on the pounds 28%, Eli Lilly’s has padded out 95%, and Novo Nordisk’s stock has beefed up a hefty 100%. And with the feast of diet drugs like Ozempic costing between US$200 and US$$1,300 per month, coupon clipping may have never looked so good! ✂️