Eli Lilly’s obesity drug now available in U.S. pharmacies

(Reuters) -Eli Lilly’s recently approved obesity treatment Zepbound is now available in U.S. pharmacies and could cost customers whose health insurance does not cover the drug $550 a month, or half the list price, the company said on Tuesday.

Zepbound is the latest entrant to the fast-growing market for weight-loss drugs, which is expected to grow to about $100 billion by the end of the decade.

The drug was added to the national list of preferred medicines by at least one major drug benefits company, Cigna.

Pharmacy benefit managers create lists, or formularies, of medications covered by insurance and reimburse pharmacies for patients’ prescriptions.

Lilly said its commercial savings card program was now available at pharmacy chains. Under the program, Zepbound could cost as little as $25 for patients whose insurance covers the drug.

The drug was approved in November, paving the way for a powerful new rival to Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy in addressing record obesity rates.

Zepbound has a list price of $1,059.87 a month compared with a list of $1,349 per-package for Novo Nordisk’s wildly popular weight-loss drug.

Lilly’s drug tirzepatide has been available as Mounjaro for type 2 diabetes since 2022 and had increasingly been used “off-label” for weight loss at a time of supply constraints for Novo’s Wegovy.

Eli Lilly’s shares have surged 60% this year in the run-up to the introduction of Zepbound, making the drugmaker the most valuable healthcare company in the world.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra and Khushi Mandowara in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)