New GLP-1 weight reduction medicine are about to be shipped to extra American properties
Using GLP-1 drug injections for weight loss has become one of the latest methods some big names in the market are using to shed extra pounds. Elon Musk recently tweeted how using Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy helped him lose weight. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin recently told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that using a different version of Novo Nordisk’s same drug, Ozempic, which is most commonly associated with diabetes management, made him feel a lot less hungry.
“The weekly shot is amazing. … I started it about a year ago, it’s been life changing,” Rubin said.
Social media influencer Remi Bader said she was prescribed Ozempic after struggling with insulin issues and weight gain.
GLP-1 – which stands for glucagon-like peptide-1 – are receptor agonists that mimic the action of the GLP-1 hormone, activating GLP-1 receptors in the pancreas and producing more insulin in the body. The insulin helps lower blood sugar levels, which can be helpful in managing type 2 diabetes. GLP-1s have also been found to help with weight loss as they cause people who use them to feel full for a longer period of time.
According to Zachariah Reitano, co-founder and CEO of telemedicine company Ro, not only are the GLP-1 drugs helping celebrities and the wealthy, but so is their ability to receive quality clinical and obesity care to help them lose weight. Because of this, his company has started a program to provide GLP-1 drugs and related medical supplies to people struggling with obesity or weight loss problems.
“I think what we can do now is use all the technology that we have to give everyone access to something that few people have access to now,” Reitano said in a recent interview with CNBC.
Ro’s Body Program offers personalized treatment for GLP-1 and weight management. The year-long program uses a combination of GLP-1 and personal coaching. In clinical trials, these drugs helped participants lose an average of 15% of their weight over a year.
Pairing personalized coaching with GLP-1s is key to effective weight loss treatment, Reitano said, and helping patients maximize their results.
“I think what’s really important, yes, it’s access to the medicines … but once they have the medicines, we want to hold them by the hand throughout the process and we’ve developed the technology to do that on a large scale.” to be able to do,” Reitano said.
With the Ro Body program, participants are first diagnosed by entering information about their health history, weight loss and obesity challenges, lifestyle and diet, and then receive a home lab test to obtain measurements of A1C blood glucose testing, cholesterol and kidney function, alongside other health metrics. Based on their test results and an initial consultation, a doctor may prescribe patients to start with a low dose of GLP-1, slowly increasing over time to reach the desired dosage level.
Diabetes, obesity and a nationwide drug controversy
Ozempic — the brand of semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist marketed to treat type 2 diabetes — recently made headlines for a nationwide shortage as its use as a weight-loss drug rose in popularity. When Wegovy, the brand of Semaglutide marketed for weight control, experienced shortages, some using the drug were prescribed an off-brand Ozempic, making the drug much more difficult to find. Many patients with type 2 diabetes who have relied on Ozempic for treatment need to find the drug. There are also reports of people looking for weight loss help turning to several other drug solutions due to difficulties in finding GLP-1 drugs.
Both obesity and type 2 diabetes affect large numbers of Americans. According to the CDC, the adult obesity rate in the United States was 41.9% in 2017, and about one in ten people in the United States has type 2 diabetes. Reitano said it’s important to recognize both obesity and diabetes as diseases that deserve proper treatment.
“I think what we’re actually going to see in the next 5 to 10 years is a weight-centric approach to metabolic health,” said Reitano, who noted in a subsequent interview with CNBC’s “Mad Money” Thursday night that his father’s personal experience with GLP-1 drugs was a motivating factor in his business decision. “I’ve seen GLPs have a tremendous impact on my dad,” he said.
He told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that the once-weekly injections do three “very, very important things” when it comes to obesity. They help regulate sugar levels; they help regulate appetite; and they slow down the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine. This combination of controls has helped patients in clinical trials lose an average of 15% of their body weight over a year.
Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, told NBC News last week the company is still facing supply chain issues that will continue throughout the month, although access to some Ozempic dosages for patients with type 2 diabetes is expanding improved.
GLP-1 drug Wegovy, for weight problems or obesity, is approved for people with a BMI over 26 and comorbidities or people with a BMI over 30.
A new real-time approach to weight management
Reitano said there can’t be an either-or scenario when it comes to managing weight loss in diabetes, and that will change over the next decade.
“If we see obesity as a disease and we both focus on preventing it, but once it happens treating it and treating it as a disease, we’re going to see a very different approach,” he said.
Reitano said the weight loss and obesity management program fits into his company’s broader goal of transforming the way patients receive medical care and meet health goals, from doctor visits to pharmacies to the ongoing management of health issues.
“Quality treatment for obesity is an important part of that,” he told Cramer. “Patients cannot simply receive these drugs and be left to their own devices.”
In addition to shipping the GLP-1 drug to the patient’s home, the Ro Body program tracks patients in real time with remote monitoring. This is facilitated by a cellular-connected smart scale that is also sent to the patient, which tracks weight and sends data to an app so medical professionals can tweak medication dosages to ensure the patient is getting the right dose to achieve desired weight loss results. Patients also receive one-on-one coaching with nurses throughout the year and up to 24 telemedicine visits with a doctor.
“The speed at which we can communicate with patients, update their plans and really be there for them and guide them through this experience, and serve as a really powerful compliment to their overall primary care is one of the things I think we are.” really excited,” Reitano said in a recent phone interview with CNBC.
However, the price of these drugs is an issue, with Wegovy costing up to $1,700 a month without insurance. Reitano said Ro helps guide individuals through the insurance process and get these drugs at the lowest possible price, but he acknowledged in his Mad Money interview that pricing in this pharmaceutical niche “can be challenging for patients.”
The Ro Body Program is the latest addition to Ro’s health offerings. The company, ranked #38 on the 2022 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, began selling men’s health products to help treat issues like erectile dysfunction and hair loss and has since expanded to offer multiple at-home services, including pharmaceuticals and fertility treatments.
CNBC is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Disruptor 50 list – our 11th annual look at the most innovative venture capital companies. Learn more about eligibility and how to submit an application by Friday, February 17th.
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