The Gray Lady Weighs in on Ozempic

  • by: Peter Pitts |
  • 03/20/2024

Today the New York Times ran a few letters-to-the-editor on it's op-ed on Ozempic and the costs and benefits of GLP-1 agonists. Mine didn't make the cut this time -- but here it is for your consideration:

To the Editor:
Per Ozempic Could Threaten the Federal Budget (NYT, 3/7/24), the authors are talking about the costs while remaining selectively silent on the benefits. According to a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine, if 10% of Medicare beneficiaries with obesity used a GLP-1 receptor agonist, the annual cost to Medicare could be as much as $26.8 billion. In 2023, according to the U.S. Joint Economic Committee, obesity caused $5,155 in average excess medical costs per Medicare patient diagnosed as obese. That’s $520 billion in preventable health care costs — an impressive return on investment. New, better medications are the best and swiftest way for this country to cut down on our health care expenses. And appropriate reimbursement stimulates competition – which drives down prices. When it comes to measuring value, we must embrace a comprehensive view of cost and benefit. Choosing only to only discuss costs without context is dishonest and deleterious to public health.
Peter J. Pitts
Pitts, a former FDA Associate Commissioner, is President of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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