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Costco is now offering its US members access to prescriptions for GLP-1 weight loss drugs through its low-cost health care partner Sesame. This partnership began last fall when Costco started offering online health checkups for as low as $29 through Sesame. After noticing that many customers were interested in weight loss, Costco and Sesame developed a new program that officially launched on Tuesday. This program includes a video consultation with a weight loss doctor or specialist, a prescription for GLP-1 or weight loss medication, if appropriate, and ongoing support through unlimited messaging with a health care provider.

Sesame has an available supply of injectable semaglutide, including Ozempic and Wegovy, as well as oral weight-loss medications. The company claims that patients could potentially lose 5% of their body weight in three months, 10% in six months, and 15% in a year using these medications. It is important to note that the $179 three-month plan does not include the cost of medication, and Sesame warns that without insurance, GLP-1 drugs can cost between $950 and $1,600 per month. These drugs have already become popular among wealthier demographics, with nine million prescriptions being written for Wegovy and other injectable weight loss drugs in the last three months of 2022 alone.

Research suggests that the use of GLP-1 drugs for weight loss is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. JPMorgan researchers estimate that by 2030, around 30 million people in the US may be taking GLP-1 drugs, which would account for approximately 9% of the population. In response to this growing trend, WeightWatchers has launched a new membership plan that includes access to doctors who can prescribe these medications. Luxury gyms like Life Time are also getting involved by acquiring weight loss clinics and designing exercise programs specifically for individuals taking GLP-1 drugs.

The partnership between Costco and Sesame reflects a broader trend of increasing access to weight loss medications and services in the US. By offering these prescriptions at a lower cost, Costco is providing its members with a convenient and affordable option for addressing their weight loss goals. With the prevalence of obesity and related health issues in the country, the availability of these medications could potentially have a significant impact on public health outcomes. It will be interesting to see how this program develops and whether other retailers and health care providers will follow suit in offering similar weight loss services to their customers.

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