1 in 8 US Adults Has Taken Ozempic or Other GLP-1 Drug: Survey
Health Care

1 in 8 US Adults Has Taken Ozempic or Other GLP-1 Drug: Survey


About 12% of American adults say they have used one of the increasingly popular weight loss and diabetes drugs known as GLP-1s, and 6% say they are currently taking such a drug, according to a new survey by healthcare research group KFF.

More than four in 10 people with diabetes (43%) report having taken one of these drugs, such as Ozempic, Wegovy or Mounjaro, while 26% of heart disease patients and 22% of those who are obese or overweight have taken them. More than a third (38%) of those who say they have ever taken the drugs report than they used them solely for weight loss.

The survey comes after drugmaker Novo Nordisk told investors on an earnings call last week that at least 25,000 people in the United States are starting to take Wegovy each week. Novo Nordisk and other drugmakers have been working to address shortages of the medications as demand has exploded.

GLP-1 drugs can be pricey, with list prices topping $1,000 for a month’s supply, and 54% of people who have used the drugs told survey-takers that it was difficult to afford them, with 22% calling it very difficult. “While most insured adults who have taken these drugs say their insurance covered at least part of the cost, even among insured adults about half (53%) say the cost was difficult to afford,” KFF reports.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, last month launched an investigation into what he called the “outrageously high” prices of Ozempic and Wegovy in the United States. “As important as these drugs are, they will not do any good for the millions of patients who cannot afford them,” Sanders wrote in a letter to Novo Nordisk’s CEO. “Further, if the prices for these products are not substantially reduced, they have the potential to bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid and our entire health care system. The United States Congress and the federal government cannot allow that to happen.”

Medicare is prohibited by law from covering prescription drugs used specifically for weight loss, but 61% of adults in the survey that the government healthcare program for the elderly should cover GLP-1 drugs for people who are overweight.

“The poll also tested the impact of arguments for and against Medicare coverage, with short descriptions explaining that it could increase premiums for people with Medicare and place financial pressure on the Medicare program and the federal budget, but that it could help more people afford the medications and improve the health and quality of life of people who are overweight,” KFF explained in a news release. “Those arguments did little to change the public’s views, with similar shares of the public overall and the various subgroups continuing to favor Medicare coverage.”

KFF surveyed 1,479 adults online and by phone from April 23 to May 1. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.