Ahead of Oscars, maker of blockbuster weight loss drug urges against ‘vanity’ use in new ad campaign

Ahead of Oscars, maker of blockbuster weight loss drug urges against ‘vanity’ use in new ad campaign - Business and Finance - News

Title: Prioritizing Health Over Vanity: Pharmaceutical Company Eli Lilly’s Perspective on Using Diabetes Drugs for Cosmetic Weight Loss

The use of diabetes drugs as a means to lose weight has been a topic of both criticism and fascination within the entertainment industry, particularly during award shows like the Academy Awards. As the 95th Oscars ceremony approaches on March 27, 2023, Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of a competing set of medicines in Ozempic’s class, has issued a clear message to those intending to use these drugs primarily for cosmetic reasons: These medications are not intended for you.

In an ad titled “Big Night,” which debuted on TV this weekend, Eli Lilly highlights the importance of these medications for individuals whose health is impacted by obesity. The ad showcases a glamorous red carpet event, followed by scenes of ordinary people going about their day-to-day activities. The voiceover explains:

“But that’s not the point. People whose health is affected by obesity are the reason we work on these medications. It matters who gets them.”

The ad doesn’t directly mention Eli Lilly’s specific drugs, Zepbound for obesity and Mounjaro for diabetes. However, it conveys the company’s long-standing stance on this matter: these medicines were developed to help those struggling with serious health conditions, not just for individuals seeking cosmetic improvements.

Zepbound and Mounjaro belong to a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, which include Ozempic and Wegovy from Novo Nordisk. These drugs mimic the hormone GLP-1, which reduces appetite, makes people feel full longer, and affects insulin secretion. Both sets of drugs also involve the hormone GIP in these processes.

Ozempic and Mounjaro are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for diabetes management, while Wegovy and Zepbound are approved for chronic weight management. In clinical trials, these drugs have helped individuals lose an average of 15% to 20% or more of their body weight. Their use is based on a patient’s Body Mass Index (BMI).

The FDA indicates that these drugs are intended for people who have a BMI of 30 or more, considered obese, or a BMI of 27 or higher and at least one weight-related health condition. David Ricks, Eli Lilly’s CEO, emphasizes that obesity is a serious disease affecting over 100 million Americans and requires proper treatment.

Eli Lilly’s stance on the misuse of these drugs is grounded in three reasons: insurance coverage, shortages, and the population in which they have been studied. Ricks explained to CNN, “We can’t speak to benefits and risks outside the population. We think it’s only responsible to point the light here, where the drug is most needed.”

Would Eli Lilly ever study their drugs for cosmetic weight loss? Ricks stated, “It’s not in our roadmap right now. It’s not really our mission.” He also acknowledged the shortages of both sets of drugs, with Eli Lilly focusing on prioritizing those who need it most.

The current supply shortage has left some individuals with type 2 diabetes struggling to obtain their prescribed medications, forcing them to find alternative sources or resorting to lower doses. Both companies are working diligently to increase production but acknowledge that it will likely take some time to meet the demand.

Another challenge is insurance coverage, particularly for weight loss medications. Ricks expressed his concern, “We would call on all decision-makers in the healthcare world to really reconsider that position – that obesity is a serious condition that leads to other serious conditions, and it likely cannot be resolved for many people without medication.”

In summary, Eli Lilly’s message is clear: these medications are intended for individuals with serious health conditions related to obesity and should not be used primarily for cosmetic weight loss. By focusing on those in need and advocating for better insurance coverage, Eli Lilly hopes to improve the lives of millions affected by obesity.