Zepbound, a Weight Loss Drug, Is Now Available on Amazon

Eli Lilly partnered with Amazon Pharmacy to provide another delivery option for people taking Zepbound, one of the latest injectable weight loss drugs.

Eli Lilly announced on Wednesday that people can now fill their prescriptions for the drugmaker's weight loss drug Zepbound (tirzepatide) on Amazon. Lilly added Amazon Pharmacy as a third-party dispensing provider to handle prescriptions submitted to LillyDirect, its direct-to-consumer digital healthcare and pharmacy platform.

The medication is also accessible on the digital pharmacy Trupill to patients with prescriptions.

To fill a prescription for Zepbound, a person can ask their healthcare provider to choose LillyDirect as their pharmacy. Then, the prescription is routed through Truepill or Amazon Pharmacy, depending on the person's insurance and other factors. People can also access healthcare providers through LillyDirect's telehealth service to get a prescription for the weight loss drug.

Zepbound gained FDA approval for weight loss in November 2023. It differs from other injectable weight loss medications, such as Ozempic, as it activates glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptors in the intestines to reduce appetite. The drug has the same active ingredients as Mounjaro, Lilly's diabetes management medication.

On Amazon Pharmacy, a 28-day supply of Zepbound costs around $1,000 without insurance.

In an emailed statement to Healthnews, Costanza Alciati, a Pharmaceutical Analyst at GlobalData, said, "Eli Lilly is expanding its online power in its head-to-head competition with Novo Nordisk in the diabetes and obesity markets. The company launched its own online healthcare and pharmacy services, LillyDirect, at the start of 2024, and it has been expanding its supplier network ever since."

Alciati noted that distributing drugs like Zepbound directly to the person's home may help reduce the growing problems surrounding counterfeit weight loss medications.

"Following the high demand for weight-loss drugs, distributing those medicines directly to the patient's home is thought to also mitigate the black-market issue of illegitimate copies of weight-loss jabs being sold to patients," Alciati said.

Although Zepbound is highly effective for weight loss, the drug is one of several injectable weight management drugs under investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potential safety concerns. The FDA says it is looking into reports of suicidal thoughts, hair loss, and aspiration of food into the airway related to the medications and evaluating the need for regulatory action.

Nonetheless, Zepbound and similar drugs continue to drive sales due to their popularity.

"Eli Lilly's new GLP-1 receptor agonist Zepbound generated $175.8 million in the U.S. from the date of its approval in November to the end of the year," Alciati explained. "And with Amazon's fast delivery and discounts on medications, Eli Lilly's sales are expected to skyrocket in the coming year."

While direct-to-consumer online pharmacies are convenient, the ease of purchasing drugs online raises concerns. For example, patients can obtain prescriptions for Zepbound through Lilly's own telehealth service, which may favor the drug maker's products. However, Lilly's website says its telehealth providers can prescribe medications made by other pharmaceutical firms.

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