Skip to Main Content

WASHINGTON — Novo Nordisk’s newly won permission to market the heart benefits of its obesity drug Wegovy could provide a backdoor way to expand access to the drug for people on Medicare, experts told STAT.

Currently, Medicare is prohibited by law from covering medications for obesity treatment alone. While companies that manufacture wildly popular anti-obesity medications and their allies haven’t been successful in lobbying Congress to change the law, the Food and Drug Administration’s move could give doctors an avenue to prescribe the medications to some Medicare patients.


Wegovy’s new label indicates that the drug can be used to reduce the risk of major heart complications for people who are overweight or obese and have existing heart disease, Novo said in a statement Friday.

Get unlimited access to award-winning journalism and exclusive events.


STAT encourages you to share your voice. We welcome your commentary, criticism, and expertise on our subscriber-only platform, STAT+ Connect

To submit a correction request, please visit our Contact Us page.