Study finds Ozempic can be made for $5. U.S. consumers pay nearly $1000.

novo nordisk

The study has produced pressure on the drug maker to roll back prices

Ozempic is a diabetes drug that many Americans take to lose weight. It’s expensive – nearly $1,000 for a 30-day supply. But apparently, it’s not that expensive to make.

Researchers at Yale University have published a study saying the actual cost of producing a 30-day supply of Ozempic is around $5.

The study looked at manufacturing costs and allowed for a profit margin to arrive at “cost-based prices.” Novo Nordisk, the company that makes the drug, sells it in the U.S. for just over $935 before insurance and rebates kick in. The study concludes that Ozempic “can likely be manufactured for prices far below current prices, enabling wider access.” 

Novo Nordisk issued a statement defending its price, pointing out that it spent nearly $5 billion to invent the drug. The company said it will spend more than that to increase manufacturing to meet demand.

However, critics have been quick to point out that the Danish pharmaceutical company recoups a lot more of that investment from U.S. consumers than from patients in other countries. In many nations, a 30-day supply of the drug costs patients less than $100.

Washington reacts

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the same exact product can be purchased for just $155 a month in Canada and just $59 in Germany.

“As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), I am calling on Novo Nordisk to lower the list price of Ozempic – and the related drug Wegovy – in America to no more than what they charge for this drug in Canada,” Sanders said. “The American people are sick and tired of paying, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs while the pharmaceutical industry enjoys huge profits.”

Sanders said Ozempic has the potential to be a game changer in the diabetes and obesity epidemics in America but it can’t help Americans if they can’t afford it. Sanders said Novo Nordisk did the right thing when it recently slashed the price of its insulin products. He says the company should do the same with Ozempic.

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