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WASHINGTON — Medicare will likely choose the obesity drug semaglutide for price negotiation “within the next few years,” according to a new analysis from nonpartisan congressional budget experts. That could curb the cost of legislation requiring Medicare to cover obesity drugs, which would increase the chances of Congress actually passing such a bill.

Right now, Medicare by law cannot cover obesity drugs, though Medicare will pay for seniors to take the same medications for conditions like diabetes and heart problems. Legislation that would do away with the broader coverage restriction hasn’t gained traction, in large part because it would cost the government so much money if Medicare suddenly covered the pricey medications. The price of a four-week supply of Wegovy and its GLP-1 competitor Zepbound, ranges from about $1,100 to $1,300.


Health care analysts have predicted for some time that Medicare would choose Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide Wegovy for price negotiation soon, due to its cost to Medicare as a diabetes treatment. But it’s notable that the Congressional Budget Office also anticipates semaglutide will be subject to Medicare negotiation soon, according to Ben Ippolito, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who is working on a project related to Medicare coverage of obesity drugs.

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