Current estimates indicate 650 million people are obese globally. The US alone spends $173 Bn/year in obesity-related healthcare costs, across an obese population of 110 million adults. Projections suggest this obese population is increasing to 125 million by 2030, indicating expansion of the obesity drug market.
Key drivers of market growth
There are a few key determinants that will improve market penetration and uptake of anti-obesity drugs. The first is a positive readout from the ongoing SELECT phase 3 trial, due to complete in September 2023. SELECT will be pivotal in shaping the market future as it is the first long-term cardiovascular outcomes trial of an anti-obesity drug (Wegovy).
Positive results of this trial will likely be a catalyst for improving guideline inclusion and physician advocacy of anti-obesity medication, in addition to expand on indications for reimbursement and insurance coverage.
A positive SELECT trial will be a major market growth driver, even in only moderately, obese people, being a new drug class in the armamentarium for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, preventing new heart attacks and stroke.
Anti-obesity drug market projections
The combination of a positive readout from SELECT and the multitude of potential new drugs entering the market will likely facilitate guideline inclusion and price reductions, stimulating improved insurance coverage, increased rebates, and physician advocacy.
Under these circumstances, Airfinity forecast that treating half of all severely obese patients with metabolic syndrome would push the 2030 US market to ≈$80 Bn, treating ≈20 million people. If coverage is aligned with current type 2 diabetes treatment levels, then a market size of ≈$40 Bn is expected.
Nevertheless, the direct visual impact anti-obesity medication has on quality of life is not seen with diabetes therapies; hence, medication compliance and uptake is likely better, indicating the larger market size of $80 Bn is achievable.
Of course, attaining and maintaining a market of this level depends on improved insurer coverage, including reduced co-pay reliance and less high deductible healthcare plans, in addition to good patient adherence to treatment and any coverage-mandated lifestyle changes.