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Costco begins offering Ozempic prescriptions to some members

New York CNN  —  Some people go to Costco for its $1.50 hot dogs, others for its $179 Ozempic prescriptions. The warehouse retailer is now offering its US members access to prescriptions for GLP-1 weight loss drugs through its low-cost health care partner Sesame. Costco first partnered with Sesame, a direct-to-consumer health care marketplace that connects medical providers nationwide with consumers, last fall when it began offering its members online health checkups for as low as $29. But about two months after that announcement, Costco and Sesame noticed that customers were inquiring about weight-loss help and began working on a new program to address that interest, said Sesame co-founder and CEO David Goldhill. “The number one search term of Costco members seeking primary care on Sesame was around weight loss,” Goldhill said in an interview with USA Today. Costco and Sesame did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CNN. The fruit of their labor, a renewable three-month program, officially launched on Tuesday and includes a video consultation with a weight loss doctor or specialist, a GLP-1 or weight loss prescription, if appropriate, and ongoing support through unlimited messaging and guidance with a health care provider. Sesame says it has an available supply of injectable semaglutide, including Ozempic and Wegovy, as well as oral weight-loss medications. The company advertises that patients could lose 5% of their body weight in just three months, 10% in six months and 15% in a year. The cost of medication is not included in the $179 three-month plan, and Sesame warned on its website that without insurance, GLP-1s can cost between $950 and $1,600 per month. Ozempic, Wegovy and other GLP-1 prescription drugs have already swept through wealthier demographics of the country. A person enters an Equinox gym location in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images Related article Ozempic is coming for gyms. Here’s how they’re responding US health care providers wrote more than nine million prescriptions for Wegovy and other injectable drugs used for weight loss during the last three months of 2022 alone. JPMorgan researchers estimate that 30 million people may be taking GLP-1 drugs by 2030, or around 9% of the US population. WeightWatchers launched a new membership plan that gives members access to doctors who can prescribe these medications. It also made a $100 million-plus deal to buy Sequence, a telehealth business that can offer virtual prescriptions, where appropriate, to patients for these weight loss drugs. Luxury gyms such as Life Time are also acquiring weight loss clinics with doctors who can prescribe GLP-1s, while Equinox is designing exercise programs specifically for people taking the medications. Additional reporting by Nathaniel Meyersohn