Advertisement
New Zealand markets open in 2 hours 28 minutes
  • NZX 50

    11,627.86
    -54.53 (-0.47%)
     
  • NZD/USD

    0.6130
    +0.0009 (+0.15%)
     
  • ALL ORDS

    7,975.10
    -64.80 (-0.81%)
     
  • OIL

    81.66
    +0.93 (+1.15%)
     
  • GOLD

    2,344.70
    +13.50 (+0.58%)
     

Hims & Hers to sell inexpensive Ozempic alternative

Hims & Hers Health, Inc./TNS/TNS

Online pharmaceutical brands Hims & Hers are introducing a weight-loss drug containing a compounded form of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, for a fraction of the price.

Both brands, owned by the same company headquartered in San Francisco, plan to provide a one-month supply of the GLP-1 injections for $199.

That same dose of Ozempic reportedly retails for nearly $1,000. Wegovy, a comparable product, is listed at $1,349, according to Quartz.

Hims & Hers shares were up 30% following the announcement. The company intends to provide branded GLP-1 medications to customers with subscriptions once a steady supply becomes consistently available.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t grant approval for compounded drugs, but allows them to be distributed with fewer restrictions when shortages arise, as is the case in this situation.

Regulators recommended in January that pharmaceutical customers “should not use a compounded drug if an approved drug is available to treat a patient.”

Hims & Hers CEO Andrew Dudum told CNBC the company is working with one of the nation’s largest FDA-monitored generic manufacturers to make sure its products aren’t harmful.

“Over the last year, we have grown in our conviction — based on our medical experts’ evaluation and the strength of our infrastructure — that if done properly, compounded GLP-1s are safe and effective,” the company said in a statement.

Regulators describe drug compounding as “a practice in which a licensed pharmacist, a licensed physician, or, in the case of an outsourcing facility, a person under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, combines, mixes or alters ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient.”

The use of revolutionary diet drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy has skyrocketed over the past couple of years, thanks in part to celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Charles Barkley speaking publicly about losing weight with the aid of such medications.

Winfrey announced in February she was leaving the board of WeightWatchers, which she had served on since 2015, after finding success with an unspecified weight-management drug.

“The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift,” she told People magazine, “and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for.”