Mar 10, 2024 - News

North Carolina's Ozempic fight

ozempic

Prescriptions of weight-loss drugs skyrocketed 300% from 2020 to 2022. Photo: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

North Carolina's decision to no longer cover weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy for state employees is facing public pushback from national groups, Axios' Zachery Eanes and Tina Reed write.

Why it matters: The explosive growth of Ozempic and other drugs known as GLP-1 agonists has led to greater recognition of obesity as a chronic condition rather than a lifestyle disease.

  • But it's also sparked major concerns about the potential budget-busting costs of treating the more than 40% of Americans who are obese.

Zoom in: In January, North Carolina became one of the first states to say it would no longer cover the popular, but expensive, weight-loss drugs for its 750,000 state employees.

  • "Our state health plan is under siege because of the cost of this one type of drug," outgoing Treasurer Dale Folwell told Axios. "If we had stayed the course, there was a potential doubling of the premium on state employees."

Read more about what critics say about North Carolina's decision

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