2024 expectations for Wegovy, Ozempic, Zepbound

George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Weight loss drugs exploded into the public eye this year, and 2024 will bring more change to the evolving market. 

The drugs skyrocketed in popularity in 2023 as they helped patients shed significant weight, despite hefty price tags, mixed insurance coverage and a handful of unpleasant side effects

Demand for the drugs is unlikely to slow down in 2024, especially as treatments gradually become more accessible. Much of Wall Street believes the weight loss drug market will only expand, with some analysts projecting that it will be worth $100 billion by the end of the decade. Goldman Sachs analysts expect 15 million U.S. adults to be on obesity medications by 2030.

But next year, investors will be watching how the dominant players in the market, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, navigate supply issues plaguing their treatments. Patients have been struggling to get their hands on Novo Nordisk’s weight loss injection Wegovy, its diabetes treatment Ozempic, and Eli Lilly’s diabetes injection Mounjaro.

Analysts expect supply constraints to improve but note that the broader issue will take years to resolve. 

Outside of supply headwinds and the lack of broader insurance coverage for weight loss drugs, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have a big year ahead of them. 

Novo Nordisk could win approvals for expanded use of Wegovy in the U.S. and Europe. Eli Lilly’s newly approved weight loss drug, Zepbound, could garner more than a billion dollars in sales in its first year on the market.

Both companies are also expected to release new data that could show other potential health benefits of their drugs beyond weight loss and diabetes management, which may increase insurance coverage down the line. 

Next year may mean even more to the other companies hoping to join what’s so far been a two-horse race to make weight loss treatments.

New drug data from Pfizer and Amgen, and the potential for more buyouts or collaborations between larger companies and smaller makers of obesity drugs, could alter the market’s competitive landscape in the coming months.

Supply issues could ease but won’t go away

The supply problems plaguing Wegovy, Ozempic and Mounjaro are likely “the biggest thing” investors will watch next year, Guggenheim analyst Seamus Fernandez told CNBC. 

Some analysts said supply constraints will likely persist for years, but expect them to ease in 2024 as Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly work to expand manufacturing capacity for their drugs. 

Novo Nordisk during its third-quarter earnings call in November said it is “looking at significantly scaling our supply” of Wegovy in the U.S. in 2024. TD Cowen analyst Michael Nedelcovych told CNBC that the company during the call appeared to suggest that such a change wouldn’t look like a big jump in supply but rather steady improvements over time.

Supply could increase more significantly years from now: Novo Nordisk in November said it would invest $6 billion to expand its manufacturing facilities…

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