Big Pharma sheds pounds to make bucks

When it comes to the weight loss drug race, Ely Lilly might have found the biggest loser.

Driving the news: The US pharma giant is looking to get its Type II diabetes drug Mounjaro approved for use in weight loss. And some people are already using it that way.

  • The drug mimics a gut hormone that makes people feel full when they eat, effectively telling their brains to stop.
  • Eli Lilly expects to get FDA approval later this year or in early 2024.

Why it matters: If approved, Mounjaro is likely to join Ozempic and Wegovy as a blockbuster drug in a weight loss category expected to be worth over US$150 billion by 2031.

  • Ozempic and Wegovy raked in almost US$10 billion last year for drug maker Novo, and Mounjara is expected to see over US$25 billion in annual sales.
  • Demand for Ozempic recently led BC’s health minister to announce plans to restrict its sale to Americans to prevent a shortage.

Zoom out: Obesity is a huge problem, afflicting over 1.1 billion people and costing more than 2% of global GDP due to healthcare costs, productivity lost to illness, and premature deaths.

What’s next: Eli Lilly’s scientists are already working on a follow-up that could prove even more effective and are aiming for FDA approval in 2026.