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Costco shoppers can now order controversial weight loss drug

Updated April 4, 2024 - 7:41 pm

Costco is dipping its toes in a controversial industry that has recently drawn scrutiny from consumers. The retailer is now allowing its customers to order prescriptions of weight loss drugs such as Ozempic, Wegovy, etc. through a recent expansion of a partnership it made with health care company Sesame last September.

Sesame CEO David Goldhill claims that weight loss has been sparking the interest of Costco members seeking its services.

“The No. 1 search term of Costco members seeking primary care on Sesame was around weight loss,” said Goldhill while speaking with USA Today in a recent interview.

Costco members can enroll in Sesame’s weight loss service which costs $179 every three months. Members will have access to clinical consultation, a nutritional guide and recommendations and an “individualized, clinically appropriate treatment program,” according to USA Today. They will also be able to order prescriptions on weight loss injections and oral tablets, but the cost of the medications will not be covered by the subscription.

The use of weight loss drugs for weight management has stirred controversy over the past few years amid its rise in popularity.

The drugs that people are using for weight loss are GLP-1 medications, which are used to treat type 2 diabetes. The use of the medications, with the most popular being Ozempic, became a trend on TikTok in late 2022 after their weight loss side effect was discovered.

Some celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg, Elon Musk, Sharon Osbourne, etc. have even openly admitted to using the trending weight loss drugs.

Oprah Winfrey even recently stepped down from WeightWatchers’ board of directors months after she revealed in an interview with People magazine that she uses an unspecified weight loss medication to help maintain a healthy weight, which sparked backlash.

As the weight loss drug trend grew, so did the shortage of GLP-1 medications across several countries, which has left people with type 2 diabetes scrambling to refill their prescriptions.

Novo Nordisk, the company who manufactures GLP-1 medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy, revealed in its annual report for 2023 that demand for these medications are “soaring, driven by a global obesity epidemic and exceptional growth in the GLP-1 market,” which has led to supply constraints.

“We are significantly ramping up production capacity and have introduced clear prioritization principles to ensure broad and equitable distribution of our products,” reads the report.

Novo Nordisk’s sales in the U.S. even increased last year by 50 percent.

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