Novo Nordisk announced that its semaglutide drug, Wegovy, cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20% in its large SELECT trial. STAT spoke with ICER’s Chief Medical Officer, David Rind about our obesity management report, which included Wegovy:
“[David Rind] said that he had already been prescribing semaglutide drugs for weight loss under the assumption there were also cardiovascular benefits. To see Novo’s results is ‘really exciting,’ he said. 'People really want these drugs,’ Rind said. ‘They work. We haven’t really had something before that worked.’
Once Novo releases detailed results from its trial, ICER may increase its fair price, given the larger cardiovascular event reduction. ICER suggests a cost-effective range for a drug, but Rind encourages manufacturers to come in below that. They’ll still make a ton of money, and they’ll be able to treat many more people, he said. Drugs like Wegovy are going to have a huge impact on the budgets of the employers and insurers that cover them, Rind said.
‘The costs are enormous,’ he said. ‘Anybody who decides they’re covering these drugs is going to have to figure out where the money is coming from. That means shifting it away from other things they’re doing or raising premiums, and that’s a big deal.’”
ICER’s 2022 obesity management Final Evidence Report included subcutaneous semaglutide (Wegovy, Novo Nordisk), liraglutide (Saxenda, Novo Nordisk), phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia, Vivus Pharmaceuticals), and bupropion/naltrexone (Contrave, Currax Pharma). We found that semaglutide used for weight loss would achieve common thresholds for cost-effectiveness if priced between $7,500 – $9,800 per year. The current annual estimated net price is over $13,000.
New data from the SELECT trial are likely to be presented soon at a conference, with a peer-reviewed article appearing concurrently or soon thereafter. We will be updating our cost-effectiveness results and health benefit price benchmarks when the data are available in more detail.