USA – As demand for weight-loss medications from Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly surges, experts are revising sales forecasts upwards, anticipating a significant rise to US$150 billion by the early 2030s. 

A year ago, top sales estimates hovered around the US$100 billion mark, indicating a remarkable shift in consumer behavior and market dynamics.

“It is very unusual to have a medicine that is capturing the imagination of millions of people,” remarked Michael Kleinrock, senior research director at healthcare analytics firm IQVIA Institute for Data Science, highlighting the unprecedented demand for these drugs.

While most insurers refrain from covering these therapies with low co-payments, an increasing number of individuals are choosing to pay out of pocket or utilizing coupons from drug manufacturers, highlighting the perceived value of these treatments.

According to IQVIA, global spending on obesity medications reached US$24 billion last year and is projected to climb to US$131 billion by 2028, with an estimated annual growth rate of 27%, far surpassing prior projections. 

However, reaching this milestone will hinge on various factors, including patient adherence, potential expansion into treating other conditions, and the emergence of new sales models.

Despite initial shortages that limited sales in 2023, the situation gradually improves as manufacturing capacity expands. 

Novo’s Wegovy and Lilly’s Zepbound have experienced supply constraints, but efforts are underway to ramp up production to meet escalating demand.

BMO Capital Markets now predicts annual weight-loss drug sales will reach US$150 billion by 2033, up from earlier forecasts of exceeding US$100 billion by the early 2030s. 

Similarly, Leerink anticipates annual sales of US$158 billion by 2032.

The efficacy of self-injected weight-loss drugs in preventing costly emergencies like heart attacks and strokes or in treating chronic conditions such as sleep apnea has bolstered arguments for their inclusion in employer and insurer coverage plans. 

David Song, portfolio manager of the Tema Obesity & Cardiometabolic ETF, emphasized the significant consumer demand and unmet medical needs driving this trend.

With U.S. list prices exceeding US$1,000 per month, sales of these medications have propelled Lilly and Novo into the upper echelons of the global market. 

Both companies are exploring next-generation compounds to maintain their competitive edge amidst a burgeoning landscape of over 80 experimental obesity drugs in various stages of development.

While price competition looms on the horizon as new players enter the market, the prevailing optimism is that increased access and higher volume will mitigate any potential price erosion, ensuring continued growth in this lucrative sector.

For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook