Another online pharmacy bypasses the FDA to offer cut-rate weight loss drugs

I have watched these “GLP-1” ads on TV.  I found it curious that these ads were promoting “GLP-1” injectables for “diet”. GLP-1 is just the “category” of this group of medications.  The FDA rule is that a pharmacy CANNOT compound a medication that is similar/same to a commercially available product – unless the commercial product is unavailable or in a shortage status.

This is the same thing that pain clinics use in having a pharmacy to compound meds that go into the implanted pumps.  They have the pharmacy compound Hydromorphone because there is no commercially available preservative-free Hydromorphone or they will add some lidocaine-type product, clonidine, or other meds to just about any opioid to get the pharmacy to compound the meds to go into a pump. There is only one FDA-approved med to be used in implanted pumps – Infumorph – which is Morphine in a preservative-free injectable. Just read this article and see the price these companies charge for the GLP-1 compounded meds vs the cost of the FDA-approved GLP-1 category of brand-name injectables. This should give you a general idea of why pain clinics use compounded meds to be put in implanted pumps. You have to follow the $$$.

Another online pharmacy bypasses the FDA to offer cut-rate weight loss drugs

Hims & Hers Health, one of the online pharmacies that got its start prescribing dick pills, is now offering knockoff versions of GLP-1 weight loss drugs. Hims & Hers says it will offer drugs that mimic Ozempic and Wegovy, the active ingredient of which is semaglutide.

The copycat versions are made by compounding pharmacies. The formulations aren’t the same as the FDA-approved versions of the drug and haven’t been directly evaluated by the FDA, either. But they’re cheaper than the real thing: $199 a month, compared to the branded version, which can cost more than $1,000 a month without insurance.

Compounding pharmacies can make knockoff versions of branded drugs when they are in shortage, as the GLP-1 drugs — prescribed for diabetes and weight loss — currently are. The FDA has already received reports of adverse events for compounded versions of semaglutide.

Hims & Hers says it “conducted extensive research for over a year” into finding a supplier but does not name the one it chose to partner with. “Over the last year, we have grown in our conviction — based on our medical experts’ evaluation and the strength of our infrastructure — that if done properly, compounded GLP-1s are safe and effective,” the company said in its statement.

Hims & Hers introduced its weight loss program in December 2023, according to an investor presentation. Its weight loss program costs $79 a month and is expected to “deliver $100m+” in 2025. Hims & Hers makes most of its money through subscriptions; more than 90 percent of its revenue is “recurring.” Expanding its number of subscribers is how it plans to grow. GLP-1 weight loss drugs must be taken continuously in order to sustain weight loss; one study has shown that people regain two-thirds of the pounds they lost once they quit semaglutide.

In the first quarter of 2024, the company added “a record 172k net new subscribers,” it said in its shareholder letter. The company has splashed out on TV advertising during NBA and NFL games as well as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.

Ro, another online pharmacy that started with dick pills, is also already prescribing compounded versions of these drugs, Bloomberg reports. Ro previously advertised weight loss drugs on the New York City subway system.

One Response

  1. I see ads for this everywhere. I guess it was inevitable since the real thing cost so much money.

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