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Popular GLP-1 agonists from Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are projected to retain a combined 80% market share among weight loss drugs by the end of the decade. Estimates for the potential size of this market can be as high as $200 billion. Though these drugs remain very expensive, Novo claims 50 million Americans struggling with obesity are eligible to have the company’s Wegovy covered under their current insurance plan. 

Though China is home to the world’s largest number of obese citizens, the American market is likely to remain the most lucrative for Novo and Lilly. Domestic firms within China are working to launch their own GLP-1 agonists in the country and list prices in the US remain significantly higher than in international markets.

Related ETF & Stocks: VanEck Pharmaceutical ETF (PPH), Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO), Eli Lilly and Company (LLY)

When MRP initiated our coverage of popular diabetes and weight loss therapies utilizing GLP-1 agonists last summer, estimates for the potential size of this growing market were ranging between $100 billion – $200 billion, but the lower bound of that range is becoming on of the more conservative figures. Estimates from Jeffries and Guggenheim, for instance, project the $150 billion threshold could be reached by the early 2030s. While sales forecasts still vary widely, the consensus seems to be that the two companies with a first-mover advantage may maintain an overwhelming market share for the foreseeable future. Goldman Sachs forecasts Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly will control a combined 80% share of market for anti-obesity drugs by the end of the decade. Those two companies have built on successful diabetes therapies in Ozempic and Mounjaro, rolling out Wegovy and Zepbound for weight loss.

Drug prices are set to rise broadly in 2024, with 900 brand-name drugs increasing prices by a median of 4.7%. Price increases on Novo and Lilly’s respective GLP-1 therapies so far this year have trailed that level, increasing by just 3.5% and 4.5%, but they are already relatively expensive for a drug that is prescribed on a monthly basis. American Progress reports that the United States has had the highest per capita prescription drug spending for more than a decade, reaching an average of $1,432 per American in 2021, but a prescription for just four Wegovy auto-injectors (one dose per week) will run almost…

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