Weight loss drugs wrinkle economies worldwide

GLP-1s, such as Type 2 diabetes therapies Ozempic and Mounjaro and weight loss drug Wegovy, are expected to bulk up the U.S. economy as more Americans shed pounds. 

Over the next four years or so, Goldman Sachs analysts predict GLP-1s will boost the U.S. economy by $1 trillion, CNN reported Feb. 27. By 2030, the anti-obesity drug market could reach $100 billion — 16 times more than its current worth.

Goldman Sachs estimates the drug class could add between 0.4% and 1% to the nation's gross domestic product, with the latter possible if 60 million Americans regularly take the medications. 

For months, Wall Street has been keyed in on how GLP-1s are wrinkling the economy, from junk food companies switching tactics to Walmart shoppers buying fewer calories. Experts have also predicted airlines could save on gas in the near future because of lighter passengers, according to The Wall Street Journal

In January, the list prices of Ozempic and Mounjaro increased to $969 and $1,069, respectively, for a four-week supply. 

Denmark, where Ozempic and Wegovy's manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, is headquartered, became Europe's third-most prosperous economy in late February, according to Fortune

Six months prior, the surge in U.S. sales of Ozempic and Wegovy caused Novo Nordisk to convert dollars into kroner in unusually large quantities, lowering interest rates and raising the company to be the second-most valuable public company in Europe.

At the time, first place was taken by luxury brand LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Novo Nordisk is now the country's No. 1 business. The company was established in 1951, and its starter companies sprung up in 1923 after the discovery of insulin, according to its website

A century after Novo Nordisk's inception, Denmark is overrepresented for its size, with 14 companies in the Fortune Europe 500. Denmark is Europe's 22nd most populous country with about 5.9 million residents — or 1.7% of the U.S. population. 

In the first half of 2023, the country's GDP rose 1.7%. It would have been 0.3% in the negative without Novo Nordisk, according to The Australian Financial Review

Apart from the financial implications, GLP-1s could increase health outcomes and boost productivity — which economists are already predicting because of hybrid work models and advancements in AI.

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