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Novo Nordisk says Ozempic is expensive because of America's health care system

Beginning next year, a monthly subscription to the Spritzler Report will cost $999.95. During the past 2 years the amount of intellectual property I've invested in this content is beyond measure.

BTW: I will not be bullied into testifying before Congress.

Novo Nordisk says Ozempic is expensive because of America's health care system

A study found that it costs under $5 to produce the drug being sold for $935.77 — a 20,000% markup

By Bruce Gil, Quartz Media


Danish pharma giant Novo Nordisk has finally responded to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’s criticism of the company’s high list prices for its popular diabetes and weight loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy.

The company said the hefty price tag — about $1,000 for a month supply — comes after it provides rebates to patients and pays fees to middlemen in the complex U.S. health care system. It also said that it only keeps about 60% of the list price from Ozempic and Wegovy.

Researchers at Yale University, King’s College Hospital in London, and Doctors Without Borders found that the cost to manufacture a month’s supply of Ozempic — including a profit margin — is between $0.89 and $4.74. For comparison, Ozempic’s current list price is $935.77 for four weekly injections. Although the price doesn’t reflect what customers pay after available rebates are applied, that’s almost a 20,000% markup. The list price of Wegovy — which has the same active ingredient as Ozempic but is prescribed for weight loss — is higher at $1,349 a month.

The company's stock surged over 10% following news that its latest weight loss drug could be more powerful than…

Novo Nordisk wrote to Sanders on Friday saying it’s willing to work with Congress to address “systemic issues so that everyone who can benefit from its medicines is able to get them,” Bloomberg reported.

Novo Nordisk added that it expects net prices for the drugs will continue to decline.

The response was to a letter Sanders wrote in April to Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen announcing that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, which Sanders chairs, has launched an investigation into the high prices the company charges for its blockbuster diabetes and weight loss dugs.

“In my view, the American people should not have to pay up to $1,349 a month for prescription drugs that cost less than $5 to manufacture and can be purchased at a fraction of this price in other developed countries,” Sanders wrote, referencing a recent study that found it only costs $5 to produce a month’s supply of Wegovy and Ozempic.

The senator also warned that the drugs could potentially bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid. He cited researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Chicago that said it could cost over $150 billion a year for Medicare to cover Wegovy and other weight loss drugs.

Novo Nordisk previously noted that it spent nearly $5 billion in research and development last year and that 75% of its gross earnings goes toward rebates and discounts for patients.

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