The medications prescribed to lose weight They are “inflated” in price. Both the treatments that are prescribed to adults with obesity, with serious health problems due to their weight, and those that can be found in pharmacies -or even in supermarkets, in some countries- could be produced and sold at prices well below your current costs.
This is the main conclusion of a new study published in the scientific journal obesity, especially dedicated to the study of obesity and its treatment. The work suggests that Prices vary a lot from one country to another. and that a good part of the medicines could “be more accessible throughout the world”. Likewise, it highlights the need for a public health approach that prioritizes this better access, instead of allowing companies to maximize their profits, especially if we take into account data such as that, in Spain, childhood obesity affects twice as many in homes with low rents.
“Access to these medicines is necessary to complement lifestyle and surgical interventions for millions of people living with obesity around the world, but high prices are limiting“, says Jacob Levi, of the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, London (United Kingdom) and lead author of the study. “While the obesity pandemic grows, especially among low-income communities, effective medical treatments remain inaccessible to millions of people who need them,” he adds.
Up to 20 times higher
According to research, the price of drugs associated with the treatment of obesity is up to 20 times higher than the estimated cost of generic versions. “Our study highlights the price inequality that exists for effective anti-obesity drugs, which are largely unaffordable in most countries,” and yet “we show that these drugs can actually be produced and sold cheaply.” cost-effective way at low prices.
For the research, the authors searched national databases of anti-obesity drug prices in 16 low- to high-income countries. The selected treatments were orlistat, naltrexone-bupropion, topiramate-phentermine, liraglutide, semaglutide, and tirzepatide. Average profitable prices were calculated using the Panjiva database, per 30-day treatment, and include the costs of active pharmaceutical ingredients, excipients, formulation, a 27% tax, and a 10% markup.
The result? The national prices of anti-obesity drugs were significantly higher than the estimated minimum values calculated. The prices of the 30-day treatment with semaglutide ranged from 804 dollars in the United States (734 euros in exchange) to 95 dollars in Turkey (87 euros), while the value given by the study was 40 (36.5 euros ). Liraglutide prices ranged from the 1,418 dollars in the United States (1294 euros) and the 252 dollars in Norway (230), when they could cost 50 dollars (45.6).
Research states that some oral treatments may be manufactured generically at very low cost per cycle. Orlistat, one of the most famous drugs for treating obesity through selective inhibition, could cost $7. However, their prices ranged from more than 100 dollars (about 92 euros) in the US to less than 1 dollar in Vietnam. Combination tablets of phentermine and topiramate could sell for 5.
For the ultra popular injectable tirzepatide, the data ranged between 715 dollars (650 euros) and 1,100 dollars (1,006 euros) in the United States; however, there was insufficient data in the database to calculate an EMP. Naltrexone and bupropion were the most expensive were most expensive, with an estimated cost-effective price of $54 (49 euros).
In the last 5 decades, obesity rates have tripled and the authors speak of a “pandemic” of obesity. “All over the world, more people die from diabetes and obesity clinically than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Millions of lives have been saved by treating infectious diseases at low cost in poor countries. Now we need to repeat this medical success storywith mass treatment of diabetes and clinical obesity at low prices,” says Andrew Hill, from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Liverpool (United Kingdom) and supervisor of the study.
“Pharmaceutical companies have an ethical responsibility to make your new treatments for diabetes and obesity are available for anyone who needs them, in any country,” he concludes. Furthermore, the authors suggest that once anti-obesity agents, particularly GLP-1 and its combinations, are shown to reduce cardiovascular risk, insurance should cover them universally.