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Eli Lilly allows direct sales of weight loss drug Zepbound, an industry first

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The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company’s new website “LillyDirect” is a one-stop shop to find a doctor or telehealth provider, with some prescriptions able to be filled online and sent straight to a consumer. Now, Eli Lilly’s weight loss drug can be mailed to patients — the first pharmaceutical company to allow direct sales of weight loss drugs.

Eli Lilly’s new direct-to-consumer service has raised concerns. The focus is on whether it’s a profit-driven tactic rather than a solution for improving accessibility for those who require the medication.

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The weight loss drug is called Zepbound, and it is similar to drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.

These drugs have spiked in popularity, leading to a $6 billion industry. Drugmakers expect to profit $100 billion by the year 2030, however, Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks said the new direct-to-consumer option isn’t about boosting sales.

“This is about patient success,” Ricks said. “Our sales will be the same whether we sell it to CVS or Walgreens or sell it on our website.”

Some observers are skeptical.

“They’re trying hard to make sure you can find a path to something they absolutely want to sell you,” New York University Head of Medical Ethics Art Caplan said. “That creates at least the appearance of conflict of interest.” 

LillyDirect will also offer insulin drugs for people with diabetes as well as migraine medication.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

IS DRUG MAKER ELI LILLY’S NEW DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER OPTION A TACTIC TO MAKE A LOT OF MONEY ON ITS POPULAR WEIGHT LOSS DRUG? OR IS IT TO OFFER PEOPLE WHO NEED THE DRUG AN OPTION FOR EASIER ACCESS?

WE’LL GIVE YOU BOTH SIDES FOR YOU TO DECIDE.

THIS IS THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY’S NEW WEBSITE “LILLY-DIRECT.”

A ONE STOP SHOP TO FIND A DOCTOR OR TELEHEALTH PROVIDER AND SOME PRESCRIPTIONS CAN BE FILLED AND SENT STRAIGHT TO THE CONSUMER. 

ON THE LIST OF AVAILABLE DRUGS TO BE SHIPPED: ZEPBOUND. ELI LILLY’S WEIGHT LOSS MEDICATION THAT IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY.

THESE DRUGS HAVE SKYROCKETED IN POPULARITY.

IT’S A SIX BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY.

DRUG MAKERS EXPECTED TO PROFIT 100 BILLION BY THE YEAR 2030.

BUT THE CEO OF ELI LILLY SAYS THIS NEW DIRECT TO CONSUMER OPTION ISN’T ABOUT BOOSTING SALES, IT’S ABOUT “PATIENT SUCCESS.”

[DAVE RICKS | ELI LILLY CEO] 

“This is about patient success. Our sales will be the same whether we sell it to CVS or Walgreens or sell it on our website.”

[KARAH RUCKER]

SOME OBSERVERS ARE SKEPTICAL 

[ART CAPLAN | NYU HEAD OF MEDICAL ETHICS]

“They’re trying hard to make sure you can find a path to something they absolutely want to sell you. That creates at least the appearance of conflict of interest.” 

[KARAH RUCKER]

THIS IS A FIRST.

ELI LILLY IS THE FIRST PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY TO ALLOW DIRECT SALES.