Why Is Ozempic so
Expensive in the USA?

Ozempic, also known as semaglutide, Wegovy, and other names, has been gaining increased attention in the news for its success in helping type-2 diabetes patients (and certain people without the disease) get their symptoms under control. If you’re a social media user, you might have seen the buzz about “Ozempic face” or wondered how many people lost weight quickly. This article will explain everything from the basics to why this popular medication costs so much. Don’t miss the end of the article, where we will offer some valuable tips on saving hundreds on your Ozempic prescription.

What is Ozempic

Ozempic (semaglutide) is an injectable medication for persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus to help control their blood sugar levels once weekly. For individuals with type 2 diabetes and heart disease, Ozempic reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular events, including stroke, heart attack, or death. Diet and exercise are recommended in addition to Ozempic.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you shouldn’t use Ozempic. Ozempic has not been reviewed
or approved by the Food and Drug Administration for weight loss.


A semaglutide clinical trial, phase II, started in June 2008. Semaglutide, a once-weekly diabetes medication created by a team at Novo Nordisk in 2012, is a longer-acting alternative to liraglutide. Ozempic is the brand name for this product. Testing in humans began in January 2016 and was completed in May of 2017.

In a double-blind, randomized phase III study beginning in March 2021, 1,961 persons with a body mass index of 30 or above were randomly allocated to receive either once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide or a placebo, in addition to lifestyle changes. There were a total of 129 locations across 16 different nations where the trials were conducted. The estimated treatment difference was 12.4 percentage points, with the semaglutide group losing an average of 14.9% of their body weight after 68 weeks, while the placebo group lost an average of 2.4%.

The Ozempic Controversy

Many individuals in the United States struggle with managing their weight, which is a difficult problem. Many individuals try to lose weight using conventional techniques, but they don’t always succeed. However, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists have recently emerged as a leading candidate for assisting with weight loss.

Type 2 diabetes may be treated with the GLP-1 agonist Ozempic (semaglutide). Although weight reduction is a possible side effect, it has not been authorized for that purpose. This prompted an investigation into Ozempic’s potential benefits for those without diabetes. Wegovy, a higher-dose variant of Ozempic designed for weight reduction, was authorized by the FDA in June 2021.

Ozempic was previously available for off-label use in treating obesity before the introduction of Wegovy.

Possible Ozempic Side Effects

About one-third of patients using Ozempic may have adverse symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Abdominal discomfort, constipation, and redness at the injection site are among the rarer adverse effects. Hypoglycemia, gallstones, and gastrointestinal problems may all be exacerbated by Ozempic. Pancreatitis sufferers, expectant mothers, and children should avoid taking Ozempic. You should also avoid taking Ozempic if you have a family history of thyroid cancer, Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, or diabetic retinopathy.

The FDA’s strongest warning for a drug, known as a “black box” warning, has been applied to Ozempic. According to this research, Ozempic increases the likelihood of developing thyroid cancers in rodents. Although its effects on humans are unknown, official sources advise against using Ozempic if you have a history of thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.

Similar Drugs

Similar to Ozempic, the medications listed below act as GLP-1 receptor agonists. When blood glucose levels are excessively high, these diabetic drugs cause the pancreas to produce more insulin. This aids in lowering blood sugar levels. Simultaneously, GLP-1 receptor agonists suppress the blood sugar-raising hormone glucagon production. Last but not least, GLP-1 receptor agonists reduce stomach emptying. You may eat less and lose weight because of the delay in stomach emptying.

Similar drugs include:

Who should take Ozempic?

Not everyone should take Ozempic, as it is meant to treat a specific health issue. If you match the following conditions, you might be an Ozempic candidate:

How long do you take Ozempic?

You will begin with Ozempic by taking 0.25 mg once weekly for four weeks. Following that, you’ll take 0.5 mg once a week for four weeks.

If your blood sugar levels are under control after four weeks, you will continue to take 0.5 mg once weekly. If your blood sugar levels need to be reduced, your doctor may raise your dose to 1 or 2 mg once weekly. Ozempic’s maximum suggested dose is 2 mg once weekly.

Every week, you should give yourself an Ozempic injection. However, the injection may be given at any time of day, with or without food.

You may adjust the day of your injection if necessary. If you do, your last dosage must have been taken at least 48 hours before the new day you want to deliver the injection.

The Cost of Ozempic?

Ozempic or Trulicity prices may change based on the specifics of your case. Your insurance coverage, geographic region, and pharmacy all factor towards the final cost of either medication.

Insurance companies aren’t often covering the cost of innovative medications like Ozempic, even for those with preexisting problems like diabetes or obesity. The typical rate for Ozempic is between $750 and $1,000 monthly. Prices in the United States may exceed $10,000 a year, which may be the case for the remainder of the patient’s life. Patients using insulin for diabetes have reported shortages, with some forced to turn to the illegal market or pay high prices for the drug.

Novo Nordisk began increasing manufacturing of the medicine in 2023, but the pens used to inject it have not kept up with demand.

Novo Nordisk has always positioned Ozempic and Wegovy as something one takes permanently to address chronic diseases. Still, some influencers have incorrectly sold them as a short solution to lose weight, and then one may continue on with one’s usual life. Therefore, people who paid for a limited supply but could not locate or buy more often recover their lost weight.

Novo Nordisk has reported people using Ozempic for weight loss to regain weight after stopping the drug.

How to Save on Ozempic?

Ozempic price reductions are conditional on a variety of factors. Ozempic will be available to those with private insurance at a reduced cost. A one, two, or three-month supply might cost as little as $25 per month.

If you must pay for your medication out of pocket, find out whether a local pharmacy accepts discount cards. Choosing this route might help you save several hundred dollars. If you have a cost of $1,200, with one of these cards, you would spend closer to $900. If your co-pay for Ozempic is $1,000, the GoodRx discount may reduce it to $500.

Those with private insurance may get an Ozempic Savings Card from the manufacturer by texting “BEGIN” to 21848. Patients may pay as little as $25 per month copay for the medication, with maximum savings of up to $150 for a 1-month prescription, $300 for a 2-month prescription, and $450 for a 3-month prescription up to a total of 2 years.

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Should I take Ozempic?

If you have type 2 diabetes and are having trouble controlling your blood sugar and A1C, you should talk to your doctor about using Ozempic. It has been shown to reduce patients’ A1C levels. In people with preexisting heart disease, it reduces the likelihood of fatal cardiovascular events, including stroke and heart attack. Some weight reduction is possible, but the intended use is not for that purpose.

What is “Ozempic Face”?

Semaglutide (Ozempic) is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes, and it is often associated with a side effect known as “Ozempic face.” Facial skin may droop and look aged as a result. A doctor could suggest making lifestyle adjustments or using face fillers to counteract these results.
What symptoms should I contact my doctor about when taking Ozempic?
You should talk to your doctor if you encounter serious adverse effects while taking Ozempic.

There is a boxed warning about the increased risk of thyroid cancer while using Ozempic. Although studies on animals show a link to an increased risk of thyroid cancer, researchers are still uncertain whether this also holds true for people.

However, if you take Ozempic and develop any of the following side effects, you should contact your doctor: a persistent hoarse voice, trouble swallowing, a lump or soreness in the throat, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

People with type-2 diabetes have the option of using Ozempic as a therapy. It may also be prescribed for long-term use in treating obesity and excess weight. Rapid weight loss is possible, as are the facial side effects known as “Olympic face.”

According to health professionals, Ozempic should only be used if prescribed by a doctor. If a patient takes Ozempic and has serious adverse effects, their doctor may discontinue treatment and suggest other approaches.

A person’s food cravings, lack of adverse effects, and blood sugar rise may all worsen when they stop using Ozempic. They might also put on weight again if they took it to lose it.

For people without insurance or whose insurance won’t cover Ozempic, it can be quite expensive at up to $1,000 monthly. Discount cards and insurance can help with the cost of the drug, but until it becomes less trendy for off-book use, its high cost and scarcity may persist for the foreseeable future.