Eli Lilly to sell weight loss drugs directly to consumers; warns against 'cosmetic' usage

 Eli Lilly has launched a new website for customers with migraines, obesity and diabetes to order prescription drugs directly from the manufacturer, including weight loss medications such as Zepbound.

LillyDirect now offers disease management resources, including access to virtual or in-person provider support, and direct home delivery of prescriptions through third-party services, according to a Jan. 4 news release. Prescription deliveries will take place through LillyDirect Pharmacy Solutions, the manufacturer's digital pharmacy, and will have no shipping costs.

The new offering comes amid a rise in direct-to-consumer telehealth startups that offer weight loss medications and marks the first such offering from a manufacturer. GLP-1s come with a steep price tag, costing upward of $10,000 per year without insurance. Ozempic, Trulicity, Victoza and Eli Lilly's Mounjaro are FDA approved to treat Type 2 diabetes, and Zepbound, Wegovy and Saxenda are approved for weight loss. 

Eli Lilly also published an open letter the same day warning against "cosmetic" use of its weight-loss drugs. 

"Lily stands against the use of its medicines for cosmetic weight loss," the company said. "Mounjaro and Zepbound are indicated for the treatment of serious diseases; they are not approved for — and should not be used for — cosmetic weight loss."

The FDA approved Zepbound in November to treat adults with obesity who have at least one weight-related medical problem. Mounjaro was approved in 2022 to treat adults with Type 2 diabetes and is meant to be used alongside diet and exercise. 

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