WeightWatchers going into prescription weight loss business with telehealth provider acquisition

WeightWatchers’ inventory soared on Tuesday after the corporate mentioned it’s getting into the prescription drug weight loss business with the acquisition of Sequence.

Sequence is a telehealth provider that gives customers entry to medication used to deal with diabetes and weight problems below such model names as Ozempic, Wegovy and Trulicity.

The medication all work by the identical mechanism: They set off the discharge of insulin, block sugar manufacturing within the liver and suppress urge for food.

WeightWatchers gives subscribers meal plans with the aim of dropping extra weight. With the acquisition of Sequence, it’s tapping into a red-hot marketplace for prescription medication that deal with weight problems and broadening what it gives to prospects.

“It’s our accountability, because the trusted chief in weight administration, to help these concerned with exploring if medicines are proper for them,” CEO Sima Sistani mentioned in a ready assertion late Monday.

WATCH | Questions swirl round use of Ozempic for weight loss: 

Ozempic for weight loss: What’s identified in regards to the potential and the dangers

Questions are swirling round the usage of semaglutide, generally bought below the model identify Ozempic, for weight loss. CBC’s Christine Birak explores the dangers and advantages of off-label makes use of of the drug, which is historically used to deal with Sort 2 diabetes.

What are Ozempic and Wegovy?

Ozempic and Wegovy are completely different variations of the identical drug, referred to as semaglutide.

They’re each given as once-weekly injections. Ozempic is accepted solely to deal with diabetes, though it has been more and more prescribed for off-label use.

Wegovy was accepted in 2021 to deal with weight problems in adults, and late final yr to deal with the situation in adolescents 12 and older. In a medical trial, adults who used Wegovy misplaced about 15 per cent of their preliminary physique weight, whereas teenagers misplaced barely extra.

A long, white box, with the word Ozempic written in blue on the front side, sits on top of a blue cylinder. The anti-diabetic remedy Ozempic (semaglutide), made by pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk, is proven in Paris on Feb. 23. The off-label use of semaglutide led to a scarcity for many of 2022. Novo Nordisk mentioned provides are being replenished, however many diabetes sufferers are nonetheless unable to entry the drug. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Pictures)

For finest outcomes, the medication ought to be mixed with food regimen and train, consultants say. Trulicity is a special drug, dulaglutide, used to deal with diabetes in adults and kids ages 10 and older. It is not accepted to deal with weight problems.

The off-label use of semaglutide, spurred by social media posts, led to a scarcity of the drug for many of final yr. Novo Nordisk mentioned provides are being replenished, however many diabetes sufferers nonetheless report hassle accessing the medication they want.

Each Ozempic and Wegovy may cause potential side-effects, the corporate studies. They embody potential thyroid most cancers, pancreatitis, and kidney and gallbladder issues.

The most typical side-effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdomen ache and constipation. Weight problems prevalence rose from 30.5 per cent from the 1999-2000 interval to 41.9 per cent for 2017 by way of March 2020, based on the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC). The prevalence of extreme weight problems surged from 4.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent for a similar intervals.

At the moment, Wegovy and Saxenda are accepted medication for weight problems in the US, with tirzepatide additionally broadly anticipated to be accepted for it later this yr.

In December, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks referred to as the drug certainly one of its “generational alternatives.” The drug was final yr accepted for diabetes, for which it’s bought below the model Mounjaro.

LISTEN | Diabetes, weight problems specialist shares what you must find out about Ozempic: 

The Dose17:26Why is Ozempic getting a lot consideration?

We’ve been listening to lots about Ozempic not too long ago. It’s a drug to deal with diabetes, however it’s now changing into standard with celebrities and common of us eager to shed just a few kilos. Dr. Ali Zentner, a Vancouver-based specialist in inner drugs, diabetes and weight problems, shares what you must know in regards to the drug.

Excessive price of weight problems

The estimated annual medical price of weight problems in the US was nearly $173 billion US in 2019 {dollars}, based on the CDC.

Annual medical prices for adults who have been overweight have been $1,861 greater than medical prices for folks with a wholesome weight.

“This deal brings entry to prescription drug options for weight loss to WW’s historic give attention to behaviour modification mannequin,” wrote UBS analyst Michael Lasser.

“This can be a vital change within the business. Whereas the deal may deliver appreciable upside, it additionally carries sizable dangers.” Lasser mentioned that WW’s business has been disrupted during the last a number of years and is now attempting to take massive steps to course appropriate.

“We expect it can take time to see if this motion actually produces a change within the firm’s fortunes,” he mentioned. WW Worldwide, primarily based in New York, can pay $106 million for Sequence, which served about 24,000 members throughout the U.S. as of February, with annual income of about $25 million. The acquisition is anticipated to shut within the fiscal second quarter.

Shares of WW Worldwide Inc. closed Tuesday up 79 per cent.

WATCH | Ozempic’s recognition surges on TikTok: 

Ozempic: TikTok’s fixation and the food regimen tradition cycle

Jan. 19, 2023 | Ozempic, a drug used to assist deal with Sort 2 diabetes, has soared in recognition due to a side-effect — urge for food suppression. Andrew Chang explores how superstar weight loss, food regimen tradition and social media have additional fueled the demand.

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