📦 Prime Time at Henry! 📦 $100 Off All GLP-1 Weight Management →

📦 Prime Time at Henry! 📦 $100 Off All GLP-1 Weight Management →

📦 Prime Time at Henry! 📦 $100 Off All GLP-1 Weight Management →

Does an Affordable Ozempic Generic Medication Exist?

Published

Apr 3, 2024

Find out how you can get semaglutide problem-free and affordably

Woman looking at syringe
Woman looking at syringe
Woman looking at syringe

Ozempic is a brand name for semaglutide, a diabetes drug with various health benefits, including significant weight loss. In patients with weight-related health conditions, medical professionals recommend a 5-10% weight reduction to improve cardiovascular health.¹ Ozempic’s active ingredient, semaglutide, has consistently shown it can help patients reach or exceed this goal.²

Ozempic is an expensive medication and is currently in short supply.³ People have been using it for weight loss, even if they don’t have diabetes. News about celebrities using the drug also contributes to the problem.

People already on this medication want to know how they can get semaglutide affordably and readily. This article explains how we got into this Ozempic conundrum and how Henry Meds can help you overcome it.

Compound Semaglutide with syringe

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a brand name for injectable semaglutide, an FDA-approved drug that helps control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.⁴ It is classified as a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA), suppressing appetite and curbing blood glucose levels like the human hormone GLP-1 does.⁵

The FDA approved the marketing of semaglutide under the brand name Ozempic on December 5, 2017,⁶ based on the SUSTAIN clinical trial program.⁵ Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who received semaglutide injected it in low doses (0.5-1.0 mg) once a week. The results showed that semaglutide controlled blood glucose more potently than standard diabetes medications.

The SUSTAIN trials also revealed that one of the secondary benefits of this GLP-1 agonist was its ability to reduce weight.⁵ More study participants on semaglutide reached the target of more than 5% weight loss than those on placebo or other diabetes drugs.

Later, the STEP study, built on SUSTAIN’s findings, showed that semaglutide could also help patients without diabetes lose significant weight.⁵ STEP used higher semaglutide doses — as much as 2.4 mg. It is the basis for the FDA’s approval of Wegovy, the injectable semaglutide product indicated for weight loss instead of diabetes.

In practice, healthcare providers prescribe weight loss drugs if patients with a high BMI or weight-related condition don’t lose 5-10% of their body weight after 3-6 months of lifestyle modifications.¹ Unlike its older counterparts, Wegovy has consistently delivered since its market launch, consequently attracting celebrity attention.⁷

However, Wegovy’s considerable success led to its shortage, creating a domino effect, as clinicians started using Ozempic off-label in its place.⁸ Currently, both brand-name medications are on the FDA’s Drug Shortages list.⁹

How Fast Do You Lose Weight on Ozempic?

Based on the SUSTAIN trial results,⁵ people can lose 4.53% to 6.4% of their body weight after 30 weeks of once-weekly 1.0-mg semaglutide injections. At higher doses of 1.7 to 2.4 mg once weekly, patients can lose 5.9% after 3 months and 10.9% after 6 months.¹⁰

The Weight Management Pyramid

To ensure success, medications like semaglutide must be taken with a healthy diet and regular exercise.¹ Health providers may also consider replacing maintenance medications that promote weight gain.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Semaglutide?

The fourth STEP clinical trial program (STEP 4) showed that people who have been on 20 weeks of continuous semaglutide treatment can regain nearly 7% body weight 48 weeks after stopping intake.¹¹ They may also lose the other health benefits of semaglutide treatment, such as better blood pressure levels, blood sugar control, and lipid profile. 

However, the fifth STEP study (STEP 5) showed that long-term semaglutide treatment helps keep the weight off if combined with lifestyle modifications.¹² If you’re already taking semaglutide, but have run into issues with your health insurance, or just want to look into other options, Henry Meds weight management program can help you get access to Compounded Semaglutide.

Can a Person without Diabetes Take Ozempic for Weight Loss? 

The active ingredient semaglutide is used in FDA-approved medications (such as Wegovy®)for weight loss, even in patients without diabetes.¹³ Ordinarily, healthcare providers prescribe the brand Wegovy for chronic weight management in such individuals. However, with the ongoing shortage, clinicians may prescribe Ozempic in its place.

The Ozempic brand is primarily indicated for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who need better blood sugar control.⁴ Weight loss in the absence of diabetes is an off-label use of Ozempic. You can still take it for weight management so long as you are under close medical supervision. However, health insurance generally doesn’t cover off-label medication use.¹⁴ 

How Much Is a 30-Day Supply of Ozempic?

Presently, Ozempic’s list price is $935.77 per month,¹⁵ though these costs vary depending on a patient’s dose requirements and other factors. Consider this if your goal is to become heart-healthier after 3 to 6 months.

On the other hand, if you use the Henry Meds platform, you can cut the cost of treatment significantly to just $297 per month with Compounded Semaglutide. Prescription medication prices shouldn’t stop you from reaching your health goals.

Compound Semaglutide Delivery

Why Is Ozempic So Expensive?

Ozempic is a relatively new drug. Several factors influence a new drug’s price.

First is drug development cost. The mean cost of drug development from 2009 to 2018 ranges from $314 million to $2.8 billion per new product.¹⁶ Semaglutide clinical trials involved thousands of participants,⁵ requiring $1,845 for every 1% body weight lost.¹⁷ This amount excludes the cost of perfecting the formulation in the lab.

Second is the rising demand. Semaglutide has gained immense media relevance, so it’s now a highly sought-after medication. Many are willing to pay for semaglutide at full price out-of-pocket,⁸ raising the costs further. 

Third is the patent holder’s monopoly. In the US, drug patents generally last 20 years,¹⁸ during which time the drug developer may be granted concurrent or non-concurrent exclusive marketing rights. Only when the exclusivity period expires can other manufacturers make generic versions of a drug. Exclusivity periods for new chemical entities (NCEs) like semaglutide usually last 5 years.¹⁹

Fourth is pharmaceutical lobbying. Drug companies spend substantial amounts to maintain their influence on drug legislative bodies.²⁰ Pricing reforms have been challenging to implement due to the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying power.

Fortunately, you don’t have to carry these burdens while taking care of your health. Henry Meds can help you get around the semaglutide pricing problem.

Is There a Generic Version of Ozempic?

Ozempic’s generic versions are supposed to be mass-produced by now. The marketing exclusivity privileges granted for some of Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide patents²¹ expired on December 5, 2022.²² However, the situation is complicated.

Generic drug manufacturers need to file an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) with the FDA as early as one year before the patent holder’s marketing exclusivity expires.²² The first to have their ANDA approved will be granted exclusive rights to make a drug’s first generic version lasting 180 days. However, patent holders like Novo Nordisk are given the opportunity to challenge ANDAs,²³ which can delay their approval.

Records show that 7 companies²² filed semaglutide ANDAs on December 6, 2021. However, Ozempic, Rybelsus, and Wegovy remain the only FDA-approved semaglutide products until now.²⁴

Friends exercising by the beach

What Is Better than Ozempic for Weight Loss?

The following weight management strategies are known to be more powerful than Ozempic,¹ however, some have risks that patients may not be ready for:

Wegovy

Wegovy differs from Ozempic in that it’s more commonly available as a high-dose semaglutide preparation.²⁵ Clinical trials show that semaglutide’s effects are dose-dependent.² For example, the degree of weight loss correlates with semaglutide dose. Wegovy’s current list price is $1,349.02 per month’s supply.¹⁵

If you can’t get a hold of Wegovy, you and your provider can talk about setting your injection device to give a higher semaglutide dose when needed.

Tirzepatide

This newer medication has actions similar to the GLP-1 hormone and semaglutide. However, it can also mimic another human hormone, the glucagon-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP). Tirzepatide’s GIP-like effects make it a more powerful appetite suppressant and energy expenditure booster than semaglutide.²⁶

Clinical trial results reveal that once-weekly 15-mg tirzepatide injections can reduce body weight by 20.9% after 72 weeks.²⁵ However, the medication is currently approved only for diabetes treatment and not weight management.²⁷ It has no clear weight loss dosing guidelines yet, which impact insurance claims. Further studies are ongoing.

The current list price of tirzepatide, marketed as Mounjaro, is $1,023.04 monthly.²⁸

Weight Loss Surgery

Weight reduction procedures are the most aggressive weight management strategies. Clinicians may recommend them if other measures don’t work. However, both endoscopic²⁹ and more invasive bariatric procedures are expensive — costs without insurance range from $7,500 to over $30,000 — and could produce lifelong side effects that patients may find intolerable.³⁰

What Are Cheaper Alternatives to Ozempic for Weight Loss?

Non-GLP-1 agonists are cheaper alternatives to semaglutide for weight loss. They’re older and already off-patent, so they have cheaper generic versions. They include the following:

  • Orlistat: Orlistat²⁵ inhibits lipid digestion and absorption in the gut. Its price ranges from $7 to $100 per month. In clinical trials, those who took 120 mg orlistat three times daily lost 8.8% body weight after 52 weeks.³¹

  • Phentermine/Topiramate: This drug combination suppresses the brain’s appetite centers.²⁵ Once-daily intake of the maximum combined doses (15 mg phentermine and 92 mg topiramate) resulted in 9.8% weight loss after 56 weeks in clinical trials.³¹ The price of this drug combination ranges from $1.40 to $199 per month.³¹

  • Naltrexone/Bupropion. This drug combination also acts on the brain, curbing appetite.²⁵ A 30-day supply costs $54 to $326.³¹ In clinical trials, a 56-week course of 8 mg naltrexone and 90 mg bupropion four times daily led to 6.4% weight loss.³¹

As you can see, these medications, though cheaper, are less potent than semaglutide.²⁵

How Do You Lower The Cost of Ozempic?

Some ways to get Ozempic at a lower price are discussed below, but each has its limitations:

  • Health insurance. Sometimes, health insurance can cover the cost. However, not all insurance plans pay for expensive weight loss medications, and eligibility is often an issue.³²

  • Manufacturer-sponsored discount programs. Novo Nordisk offers Ozempic savings cards, allowing patients to buy 30-day supplies at a discounted price. However, a study revealed that such programs do not usually last long-term,³³ to the detriment of individuals on chronic-use medications like Ozempic.

  • Bulk purchasing. Novo Nordisk offers maximum savings of $150 for a month’s supply of Ozempic, $300 for 2 months, and $450 for 3 months. You may end up paying as low as $25 per month for 24 months³⁴ for this medication. It’s a promising option but with the right type of insurance and usage (semaglutide for diabetes mellitus). 

  • Coupons and discounts. Pharmacy coupons and prescription discount cards can help lower the cost of Ozempic. However, these programs allow access only to a limited brand range.³⁵ Additionally, not all can be combined with insurance, so the patient may still end up with high out-of-pocket costs.

A smiling pharmacist

Can Ozempic be Compounded?

Compounding means customizing a medication to suit patients’ specific needs. Some of its applications include turning hard-to-swallow pills into liquid form, mixing synergistic active ingredients, and creating individualized-dose medications. 

While making generic semaglutide is illegal, compounding it is not. Notably, the FDA imposes fewer restrictions on compounding commercially unavailable drugs like injectable semaglutide.³⁶

Why Should You Consider Compounding Semaglutide?

One survey³⁷ revealed that many physicians from various disciplines prescribe compounded medications. They believe that the advantages of these drugs are:

  • Their customizability 

  • They can have multiple active ingredients with synergistic benefits

  • They make much-needed drugs available to patients at a lower cost

  • They have proven efficacy in treating certain diseases

  • Drug compounding guarantees a steady medication supply in times of shortage

The FDA implements policies protecting consumers from buying poor-quality medications. Some of those policies require that compounding be done by a state-licensed pharmacist and that the facility be duly registered.³⁸

At Henry Meds, you can rest assured that the medical providers and pharmacists in our network are duly licensed and the compounding facilities are FD&C Act-compliant.

How Can Henry Meds Help Make Sure You Stay on Your Weight Management Program?

Henry Meds is a trusted name in providing high-quality but affordable healthcare services. Long-term GLP-1 weight management is one of the services we provide reliably. The Henry Meds platform can connect you to licensed telehealth providers and registered pharmacies with a click of a button.

People who have used the Henry Meds platform leave excellent reviews about the easy signup process, timely service, high-quality medications, and staff professionalism. Patients can rest easy, knowing Henry Meds can help them stay on top of their health needs.

Ensuring You Meet Your Health Goals with Timely and Continuous Treatment

Semaglutide is a highly effective weight-loss medication. However, its prohibitive cost forces patients to look for cheap alternatives. There are various ways to lower semaglutide’s price, but each has its shortcomings. Older weight loss drugs are cheaper but less effective.

Meanwhile, an excellent third option is compounding, which can make semaglutide more affordable and available even in times of severe shortage. Doctors view compounding as a way to solve drug inaccessibility — this is where you can count on Henry Meds.

Henry Meds can help you reach your health goals by ensuring you never run out of Compounded Semaglutide and other supplies. Our signup process is as easy as 1-2-3. Get started on your weight loss journey today!

Disclaimer:

To help you trust the information we provide, every article written by Henry Meds relies on peer-reviewed studies and medically-reviewed facts. We ensure that the data, ideas, and figures cited are reliable, current, and accurate. Our team of medical reviewers aims to help you cut through the noise with clear and authoritative primary and secondary sources.

Nothing in this article is intended to be prescriptive or medical advice. Talk to your doctor before starting a new diet and exercise plan. The information presented is about our medically supervised weight management programs and is not an advertisement for a specific drug.

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