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Overland Park primary care clinic speaks on the future of affordable, compounded weight-loss drugs

Compounded weight-loss drugs
Posted at 10:56 PM, May 27, 2024

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Weight loss drugs continue to be expensive and in short supply.

It’s part of why Hims & Hers, the online pharmacy startup, is now offering compounded, injectable weight-loss drugs starting at $199 a month.

Brand name versions of weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy can cost more than $1000 a month. The demand for these drugs is what’s leading to more sales of compounded drugs.

But while compounded drugs are cheaper, they’re not FDA-approved.

“That’s one of the concerns about the compounding pharmacies is that there’s not as much oversight as there is with an FDA-approved medication.” Dr. Kylie Vannaman, the owner and founder of the direct primary care clinic Health Suite 110 in Overland Park, said.

The clinic offers primary care as a monthly membership to its patients. The goal is to not only eliminate barriers to health care due to lack of access and affordability, but to have the room to foster personal relationships with patients as part of the care they get.

The clinic plans to prescribe compounded weight loss drugs to its patients with underlying health conditions. Dr. Vannaman said this would include ailments like diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, or hypertension to get one of these prescriptions. They also will try to get their patients to implement lifestyle changes before and along with these prescriptions.

“I have high cholesterol, joint pain, foot pain, I know it’s weight related,” she said. “We can’t get the drug because we can’t afford it.”

Michelle said she’s interested in Health Suite 110’s compounded weight-loss drug option because it could save her money. She said she has tried everything to treat her pre-diabetes and her weight.

“Because we are pre-diabetic and don’t have diabetes, it (insurance) didn’t want to cover more than half of any of the drugs we’d looked into,” Michelle said. “So it was going to be like $500 to $600 out-of-pocket per month.”

Dr. Vannaman said they’re researching compounded pharmacies they can trust

“I’ve seen how life-changing that can be for people, but at the cost that they are, the people that would benefit the most from them aren’t even able to afford them,” Dr. Vannaman said of weight-loss drugs.

They plan to charge their patients $10 for their starting dose, with no more than around $100 for the highest dose.

For Michelle, the price cuts make improving her health more realistic.

“It makes it possible. It was not possible, otherwise," Michelle said.