How Much Does Semaglutide Cost Without Insurance?


Dec 27, 2023

Find out how much Semaglutide costs without insurance and how effective it is.

Holding a vial and syringe
Holding a vial and syringe
Holding a vial and syringe

Semaglutide is a highly popular medication because of its ability to reduce weight and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.¹ However, the great demand for this drug has led to a shortage and a rise in the price of its brand-name versions. Currently, semaglutide is on the FDA’s Drug Shortages database,² causing its cost to rise markedly for those who don’t have health insurance.

Not every person has a health insurance plan, and not all plans cover weight-loss drugs.³ People often ask, how much does Semaglutide cost without insurance? More importantly, how can they ensure they complete Semaglutide treatment without breaking the bank?

If you have the same questions, then this article is for you. Here, we explain how Semaglutide works, what it costs, and how Henry Meds can help you lower its price.

How Does Semaglutide Work?

Woman Exercising At the Gym.

Semaglutide is a drug that falls under the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) class.⁴ That means this medication’s effects are similar to those of the human hormone GLP-1. This hormone is secreted by the intestines after food digestion and absorption. Its most important effects include the following:⁴

  • Appetite suppression

  • Enhancement of insulin secretion while inhibiting glucagon release

  • Slowing down the passage of food in the gut

The combined result of GLP-1’s actions is caloric intake reduction, which is crucial to weight management. However, GLP-1 stays in the cells for just a few minutes.⁴ After that, the body craves food again. All the other effects of the hormone also wear off shortly after.

Semaglutide has a nearly identical structure to GLP-1. The slight difference accounts for its sustained effects. You only need to take this medication once a week to enjoy its benefits.

How Effective Is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide’s effectiveness has been proven in large clinical trial programs, namely, SUSTAIN, PIONEER, STEP, and OASIS. The findings are summarized below.


SUSTAIN compared injectable Semaglutide’s effects with placebo and standard diabetes medications such as sitagliptin and insulin glargine.¹ Patients with Type 2 Diabetes mellitus had weekly injections of 0.5-1.0 mg Semaglutide. Diet and exercise went hand in hand with the treatment.

Among the medications included in the study, Semaglutide produced the best blood glucose control with only mild gastrointestinal side effects. The study also showed that patients on Semaglutide injections were more likely to lose >5% of their body weight,¹ which is the minimum goal for cardiovascular health improvement.⁵


A person spooning greens onto their salad.

PIONEER compared the effects of oral Semaglutide on blood sugar control and weight management with placebo and standard diabetes medications.¹ Adults with Type 2 Diabetes mellitus were asked to take 3-14 mg oral Semaglutide together with lifestyle changes. This study revealed that 14 mg once-daily oral Semaglutide intake had comparable effects to empagliflozin and was superior to sitagliptin, liraglutide, and other diabetes medications.


STEP compared the effects of high-dose (2.4 mg) and low-dose (1.0 mg) Semaglutide injections to placebo in people with weight loss resistance, with or without diabetes.¹ High-dose Semaglutide injections demonstrated the best results. The fourth STEP study (STEP 4) showed that premature Semaglutide treatment termination resulted in weight regain. This finding underscores the importance of completing the prescribed Semaglutide regimen. 


OASIS is a clinical trial program in its early stages. OASIS 1 compared the effects of high-dose (50 mg) oral semaglutide to placebo in patients with weight loss resistance, with or without diabetes. Daily 50-mg oral Semaglutide intake was proven superior to placebo and comparable to 2.4 mg injectable Semaglutide.⁶

These clinical trials prove that both injectable and oral Semaglutide are effective weight-loss medications. Additionally, results from other studies show that Semaglutide is superior to non-GLP-1 drugs like orlistat and the once-daily injectable GLP-1 medication liraglutide.⁷ With this much evidence proving its efficacy, it’s no wonder that celebrities have also been taken by the Semaglutide storm.

Can Everyone Take Semaglutide?

Three FDA-approved semaglutide formulations are currently marketed in the US: Ozempic®, Rybelsus®, and Wegovy®.⁸ They differ from each other and are prescribed for different health concerns.

  • Ozempic® was the first injectable form of Semaglutide approved by the FDA. The single-use injectable pen dispenses 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg of the drug.⁹ This formulation is mainly indicated for diabetes management.¹⁰

  • Rybelsus® is currently the only FDA-approved oral Semaglutide form. The pills are available in 3-, 7- and 14-mg dosage forms.¹¹ Like Ozempic, Rybelsus is also primarily indicated for blood sugar regulation in patients with diabetes.

  • Wegovy® is another injectable Semaglutide form, but its highest dosage strength is 2.4 mg.¹² This formulation is indicated for adults with weight loss resistance. Patients may or may not have diabetes. Other weight-related problems may also be present.

Brand-Name Semaglutide and Insurance Eligibility

You may use any of these three brand-name products to lose weight as long as you are under strict medical supervision and have no contraindications. However, only Wegovy® is specifically FDA-approved for chronic weight management. Thus, insurance plans with weight-loss drug coverage can only pay for this formulation and not the other two, unless the patient also has diabetes.

A woman sat on a sofa holding a mug and looking at her phone.

Semaglutide’s Contraindications and Potential Side Effects

Semaglutide is generally safe, with only mild gastrointestinal disturbances as its most common side effects. However, rare cases of the following conditions have been reported after Semaglutide use:¹²

  • Hypoglycemia (lower-than-normal blood sugar)

  • Infection

  • Acute pancreatitis

  • Acute kidney failure

  • Visual impairment in people with diabetes

  • Allergies

  • Acute gallbladder disease

  • Increased heart rate

This GLP-1 medication is not for everyone, as patients who have had these episodes in their medical history are likely to experience a repeat or exacerbation when they take it. 

Semaglutide has also been found to increase the risk of developing medullary thyroid carcinoma and multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.¹³ Patients with a personal or family history of these conditions are advised not to take GLP-1 agonist medications.

No medical treatment is completely free of risk. However, working closely with a licensed healthcare professional can help you avoid serious side effects while taking prescription medications like Semaglutide.

How Much Does Semaglutide Cost Without Insurance?

As much as 68% of payments for weight-loss drugs are out-of-pocket.¹⁴ Here are the list prices for the 30-day supplies of brand-name semaglutide products:

  • Ozempic®: $935.77¹⁵

  • Rybelsus®: $935.77¹⁶

  • Wegovy®: $1,349.02¹⁷

The list price is the medication price manufacturers set to direct purchasers or wholesalers.¹⁸ Seller markup can increase these costs.¹⁹ The sellers’ final prices, including markups, determine what you would pay for Semaglutide without insurance.

A doctor writes notes while sitting with a patient.

How to Reduce the Cost of Semaglutide

Novo Nordisk has Semaglutide savings programs for both insured and uninsured patients. However, the benefits of these programs are only available to a select few. For example, the patient assistance program for uninsured individuals covers only diabetes medications like Ozempic® and Rybelsus® but not the weight-loss drug Wegovy®.²⁰ Further, patients with commercial insurance plans are still subject to strict eligibility criteria.²¹

Other ways to reduce Semaglutide costs without insurance include prescription discount coupons, health savings accounts, and bulk purchasing. However, each has its limitations:

  • Pharmacies are often the sources of prescription discount coupons. The fact that you can’t combine these coupons with health insurance requires that you pay high out-of-pocket costs.²²

  • Health savings accounts (HSAs) are tax-sheltered accounts you may use for your health expenses.²³ One of the requirements for opening an HSA is a high-deductible health insurance plan, which can also increase your out-of-pocket payments. 

  • Manufacturers and pharmacies offer discounts for bulk drug purchasing, but this practice may worsen drug shortages.²⁴ 

Some people are forced to consider non-GLP-1 weight-loss medications, which are considerably cheaper.²⁵ The problem is these drugs are nowhere near as effective as Semaglutide.

Henry Meds offers a much more reliable way of lowering the cost of weight management treatment. Ensuring a steady supply of your medication is one of the keys to the success of GLP-1 agonist therapy.

Why Is There a Shortage of Semaglutide, and How Does It Affect Medication Cost?

Post-launch studies show that Wegovy® produces the same weight-reducing and cardiovascular benefits in the real world as in clinical trials.²⁶ The impressive results attracted the rich and influential, earning endorsements for this GLP-1 agonist.²⁷ Subsequently, the brand-name prescription drug became highly popular, leading to steep demands and its eventual shortage.²⁸

Unfortunately, this shortage produced a domino effect, as health practitioners began prescribing Ozempic® off-label for weight loss in Wegovy®’s place. Currently, both injectables are on the FDA Drug shortages list. This situation doesn't bode well for people with Type 2 Diabetes who take the medication to control blood sugar levels. 

Wegovy®’s popularity is also thought to be the reason for its high cost. Many patients who take it are willing to pay its full price. Most insurers refuse to pay for Semaglutide treatment, thinking its high price and projected future demand might require a shift of money from other forms of healthcare or cause premiums to rise overall.²⁹

A woman looking in a full-length mirror at her body and smiling.

Beware of Counterfeit Versions of Semaglutide

The severe Semaglutide shortage and cost issues have also forced patients to resort to extreme measures to secure long-term drug supply. Some began buying from unlicensed online pharmacies. Others physically cross the borders to get the medication from Canadian and Mexican drugstores.

However, these risk-fraught practices may result in patients getting counterfeit products, which tend to be ineffective or produce harmful side effects.³⁰

Henry Meds offers a much safer, more secure alternative to these measures. You can use the platform to get Compounded Semaglutide that is guaranteed to be high-quality and formulated by US-licensed pharmacists.

How Can Compounding Pharmacies Help Address Semaglutide Shortage?

Pharmaceutical compounding is the practice of tailoring a drug formulation to a patient’s needs.³¹ In doing so, the compounding pharmacist can do the following and make it easier for patients to take their medications:

  • Customize drug dosage or strength.

  • Add flavor to make the medication more palatable to children and pets.

  • Exclude unwanted and nonessential ingredients that may harm people with particular sensitivities.

  • Change the medication into a form that’s easier to swallow or won’t cause stomach upset.

In the US, the FDA allows the compounding of necessary and beneficial drugs in shortage, such as Semaglutide.⁸ Provisions of the FD&C Act safeguard the quality of compounded drugs by requiring pharmacists to be US board-certified and compounding facilities to comply with quality guidelines.³⁰ Pharmaceutical compounding guarantees a steady supply of medications, increasing patients’ compliance and the odds of treatment success.³²

Henry Meds can help you get high-quality Compounded Semaglutide continuously and more. By signing up with Henry Meds, you ensure that your weight management efforts are legal and in compliance.

Henry Meds Fills the Gaps That Insurance Can’t

The Henry Meds platform bridges your and your health concerns with a vast network of U.S. board-certified medical practitioners and pharmacists and duly registered compounding facilities. 

You can get a virtual consultation with a healthcare provider on the Henry Meds platform with just a few clicks. The clinician will give you a Compounded Semaglutide prescription if they think this medication is suitable for your needs. They will then coordinate with the pharmacy that will deliver Compounded Semaglutide to your doorstep. 

Henry Med’s compounded GLP-1 subscription will cost you only $297 a month, including the telehealth appointment and medication. You don’t even need health insurance coverage to sign up.

Overall, the Henry Meds platform makes your weight management journey convenient and affordable.

Get started on your journey to a healthier you today!

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 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.

Please note: Henry Meds does not offer Ozempic® or Wegovy®, which are only available from the Novo Nordisk company. Compounded Semaglutide is a patient-specific medication created in a state Board of Pharmacy or FDA-licensed compounding facility per a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional. Compounded drugs are required to exclusively use ingredients from FDA-licensed facilities, and test sterile compounds for potency, sterility, and purity. While compounded drugs are legal they do not undergo pre-market approval from the FDA as they are not made in large batches for the public, compounds are made based on specific orders from a medical professional. Because of that the dose, route of administration, safety, and efficacy may differ from commercially available, brand-name, drugs. Henry Meds exclusively works with licensed sterile compounding pharmacies in the United States.


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