Are Weight Loss Drugs the New Opioid?

I have been on countless diets my entire life. What goes into my mouth is never cavalier. I do not have an unhealthy relationship with food; I love food. I have worked hard not to have an unhealthy relationship with my body. They are very different things. Unsurprisingly, I am fascinated with the new weight loss drugs.

The family was at the Knicks playoffs this week, and I watched at home on the couch. Next year, Knicks! This ad came on the television. It is gorgeous, well done, and captured my attention immediately. As the ad played, I knew it was a pharma company, and it was Eli Lily.

There is much to unpack about these drugs. First of all, it appears to work. People lose weight rapidly, their hunger changes, and I would gather that if they have diabetes, the sugar levels in their blood drop. That is a good thing as diabetes is a silent killer, the eight leading killer in the US having multiplied in the past thirty years. It was inevitable that a drug would eventually be found in pharma land.

What are the long-term effects of taking this drug for those who are in real need, such as obese people with diabetes? Do you have to stay on it forever? What is the correct dosage? Do they know enough about this drug and how it affects one’s organs?

The price of this drug is not cheap. The pharmaceutical companies have not been forthcoming with how much they are actually selling. I read that 25,000 people signed up for this revolutionary weight loss tool from one pharmaceutical company in the first three months of the year, and that is only one company. Many companies are providing this drug under different names. Supposedly, there are 500,000 weekly prescriptions for ozempic.

The prices are high, and many pay for it out of pocket. There is a shortage, and pharmaceutical companies are boosting production with new facilities. Does this sound familiar to the opioid crisis? I hope this is not the case, but I admit it happened quickly, and I do not fully trust pharma, although I want to. I believe in vaccines and Western medicine for many reasons, but they are publicly traded businesses that spend billions on lobbying the government; enough said.

The long tail of this is how this changes the food industry. What will happen to all those lo-fat products? Will people consume and buy less food? Will food waste go down? Will people eat healthier? Will there be a push to produce products here, similar to Europe, where they do not allow many manufactured products to go into their food? Maybe all of this could be a good thing and positively impact our environment. Perhaps this is a reach, but I’m just saying.

I have watched the ad a few times. I am obsessed with these drugs, and for some, I am all for it. But my friends who told me a few years back about the drug and began taking it when I never even once considered them overweight concerns me. The media has wanted us all to be thin for a long time, yet were these drugs meant for the slightly chubby or the person who always wants to lose the last 5 lbs. and wants to look like Kate Moss? I am not so sure, but it appears we will find out.