1 min read

The fat cats of weight loss 😼

And the Oscar goes to… Ozempic? The slim-down secret is out and TikTok influencers are dancing their way to their doctor for a script. But what is this ‘new’ wave of injectable treatments really designed to treat and how is Oprah weighing in?
Published on
March 13, 2023

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! ✂️

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