FDA Approves Promising New Obesity Drug, Wegovy, Has One Final Hurdle

The Promises of Obesity Drug Currently Depends on The Coverage by Insurance

Wegovy or semaglutide which is a drug that is new to the market promises to be the obesity treatment. The drug was approved and cleared to be sold in the U.S in June of this year and it was the first medication of its kind to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration since 2014.

The clinical trial

For the trials of the drug that happened for over sixteen months, it was reported that people who were using Welovy were able to shed off their body weight by 15% (thirty-four pounds roughly). This was however before plateauing of their weight. Welovy is impressive in that: 

  • It has been able to do thrice what the other medications in the market for obesity can. 
  • Wegovy has also not brought up any alarms in regards to the drug triggering bad side effects such as what the other treatments have caused patients.


Greenleaf is one of the patients who applied for the clinical trial of Welovy in 2018. This was after the 58-year-old had struggled with her weight for what seemed to be forever. She had tried all sorts of diets and was never able to lose any weight. The drug was administered by a weekly shot.

How does the drug work?

The drug takes direct action on the brain. This means that it will help people make sure that they eat less compared to their normal intake. This in turn is helpful in the excess weight being addressed as well as ensures the proper health and functioning of body parts such as the liver and the heart.

For Greenleaf, she was able to notice some differences soon after her first dose of the medication. She says that she was no longer feeling as though she was hungry and attributes it to something being triggered in her brain. She no longer had cravings for those which initially had gone crazy for. This enabled her to be mindful of that which she was allowing into her body. She was careful with the quantity of sugar she put into her body as well. Over the whole clinical trial, she had managed to lose 40 pounds and was finally eligible to donate to her husband her kidney. Greenleaf did gain back some weight after the end of the clinical trial. She would want to continue with the injections but needs insurance to give a go-ahead.

Wegovy is said to be a lifelong medication when it comes to the treatment of obesity. When the medication was still in the pre-marketing stage, weight loss that was recorded was up to 18% dependent on the fact that the people continuously got the weekly injections. Stopping the dosage led to weight gain yet again.

Insurance and obesity drugs

It has come to be known that insurance is not just tough on Wegrovy but all obesity drugs as a whole when it comes to their approval. There are only a handful of private insurers out there who cover drugs for obesity, Wegrovy still does not know where they stand in regards to the medication. The majority of the patients as well as the doctors have hope that all will go well in terms of the insurance agreeing to cover Wegrovy since it is an increased dose of Ozempic (a diabetic medication) that is often covered by insurance.

Considering Medicare does not give provision for obesity, most of the other private insurers subsequently do not because they follow what Medicare does. 

Why has FDA taken time in terms of approving obesity treatments?

The physicians at FDA have been very skeptical when it comes to approval of obesity medications because there have been several medications that had seemed promising to them, only for them to end up not only highly addictive but also be a cause of the problems that are related to one’s heart valve.

DR. Eneli who is based in Columbus but was not part of the study gave remarks saying that she, among other physicians who are based in the obesity field has had to become cautious in terms of raising hope when they are brought a new medication. She continued to say that from her end she had seen nothing so far and therefore the business was promising to a huge extent. 

The Saxender ( the treatment for obesity that has been around since 2014) is similar to Wegovy. Although the clinical side effects that have been said to come by as a result of using Wegovy are constipation, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, Eneli has said that the reality of the side effects in question is usually way milder. She concluded by stating that the fact that the medication has a safety profile would mean that the medicine is probably not set up to come up with unanticipated risks. 

The pricing of Wegovy

Although the drugs have promising effects and many doctors would want to prescribe them to their patients, the cost is quite on the higher side. Stanford puts out that she is guilty of checking to confirm that her patients’ medical insurance can accept to pay for the medication before she even brings the issue up with a patient. 

Stanford stated that the patients who she sees who are obese do a lot when it comes to keeping their insurance cover just so that they will be able to afford the drugs. An example she gave is that some staff work even past the time they were to retire because they want to keep their insurance. There are some people however who are in a position to pay who are very ready to depart with large chunks of money if it means that they will be able to have more time with those who matter to them.

The company making Wegovy is still talking with different insurers for them to cover the drug. The issue that continuously arises however is the fact that the majority of people feel as though obesity is not a disease and therefore insurance has no business covering for it. Langa says that obesity has to be recognized as a disease and treated like any other. If at all it should have a high priority because obesity is often at the backbone of so many diseases.

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