Health and Healthcare

Weight-Loss Drugs Reduce Company Earnings, but Personal Weight Loss Results Vary

Rostislav_Sedlacek / iStock via Getty Images

To say that weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy are having a widespread impact on the economy may be an understatement. Novo Nordisk, the Danish company that makes both of the drugs, had a market cap of around $418 billion in early September, greater than Denmark’s gross domestic product of $405.6 billion. Novo Nordisk’s market cap a month later is still nearly $407 billion. (The 17 worst myths about boosting metabolism that people still believe.)
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How Companies Are Being Affected

Compare that to the performance of companies that produce consumer staples like food and beverages. Shares of consumer staples stocks have fallen by nearly 10% since mid-September. Walmart, for example, benefits from consumers who purchase these prescription drugs. The company’s U.S. CEO, John Furner, said on Thursday that sales of these drugs are leading to people buying “slightly less calories.”

Trilliant Health recently reported that U.S. sales of GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy increased by 300% between 2020 and 2022. That has to affect sales of consumer foods that contain sugar — and that’s nearly all of them.

Next Tuesday, PepsiCo, makers of Pepsi cola, Doritos, and a host of other beverages and snack foods, will report earnings for its third quarter of fiscal 2023. Analysts are expecting the company to see a slight decline in sales due to the popularity of the weight-loss drugs.

How People Might Be Affected

In a post on her finance and media blog, The Blind Spot, Izabella Kaminski wrote about her experiences with Ozempic. Kaminska, formerly the editor of the Financial Times’ Alphaville blog, presents a brief history of the theory of obesity promoted by Dr. Robert Lustig in a YouTube video called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” Lustig posted the video in July 2009, and it quickly went viral.


Lustig’s fundamental idea is that people unknowingly consume large amounts of refined sugars, and it is that stealth consumption that drives obesity. People were not making bad choices. They were being fed sugar in virtually everything they bought to eat. Needless to say, the sugar industry objected loudly.

Once the medical establishment bought into Lustig’s theory, Semaglutides (GLP-1 drugs’ generic name) were prescribed for patients with type-2 diabetes. Patients then began demanding the drugs to help with weight loss. This diverted the supply of the drugs from diabetes patients and changed people’s metabolism enough to make them dependent on the drug. Purging sugar from your diet is like kicking an addictive drug habit, Kaminska writes.

The story of her two experiences with the drug is a cautionary tale of what can happen if people who want to lose weight fail to pay attention to the downsides as well as the upsides of a purported wonder drug.


As she puts it, “Replacing a sugar addiction with an eye-watering expensive Semaglutide addiction simply cannot be the answer to mass obesity.”

In an August story on Ozempic and its alternatives, Healthline reports that a month’s supply of Ozempic costs $935.77. Wegovy and Saxenda, another Semaglutide, cost $1,349.02 for a month’s supply.

The article also offers alternatives to these drugs.

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