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Is There a Generic FDA Approved Version of Ozempic? Part 2

March 8, 2024

GLP-1 Medications And Weight Loss: Liraglutide, Semaglutide and Tirzepatide

Our previous post covered a brief introduction into what GLP-1 receptor agonist medications are. In this post we will expand a little further on the three main injectable GLP-1 medications on the market: liraglutide, semaglutide, and tirzepatide.


With regards to weight loss (as can be seen in the table), tirzepatide appears to perform the best of the three and liraglutide appears to be the least effective. For example, if we look at patients who successfully lost at least 10% of their body weight, we see that 76.7% of those on tirzepatide achieved this goal, 69.1% of those on semaglutide achieved it, and only 33.1% of those on liraglutide achieved it. The results for those in the placebo groups were all roughly comparable across all three drugs, thus suggesting that this is a roughly fair comparison. As one might expect, they all have fairly similar side effect profiles. And importantly of note, they all carry a potential risk of causing or exacerbating thyroid tumors. Consequently, patients with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer should make sure to discuss this with their physician before taking any of these medications.

In order to accurately consider the true cost-benefit ratio of medication you need to know the actual cost. Pricing for prescription medications is notoriously and deliberately obscure. The actual prices paid can vary enormously from state to state, from pharmacy to pharmacy, with different insurance companies, and even if you self-pay out of pocket. It can be surprisingly difficult to get a straightforward “universal price” for a prescription medication. The current “list prices” (like an MSRP) for liraglutide, semaglutide and tirzepatide are all roughly around $1,000 to $1,300 per month. And, as mentioned previously, there is not currently a generic version of any of the three GLP-1 receptor agonists we have been discussing. Consequently, while it is difficult to state the exact price at any given time, there currently is not a strong cost benefit to any of them versus the others.

However, as noted previously, liraglutide’s patent is set to expire in June of this year (2024). That means that we can reasonably expect a generic version to hit the market shortly thereafter. So, to answer the title question of whether or not there is a generic version of Ozempic, the answer is: “No, not quite yet in February 2024. But also yes, one of its major competitors should have a generic option later in 2024.” Once a generic option of liraglutide is on the market, its price will likely drop dramatically in short order. And as more generic manufacturers start producing liraglutide, the faster the price will decrease.

While it is regrettable that liraglutide seems to be the least effective of the GLP-1 medications for weight loss, it will also soon be the least expensive of them BY FAR -- and for the foreseeable future until semaglutide’s patent expires in 2031! Nevertheless, liraglutide is still undeniably an effective medication for weight loss and already has an FDA approval to be used as such. Furthermore, it is likely to cost a fraction of its competitors in late 2024. Consequently, it is highly probable that liraglutide will soon become the most cost effective medication for treating obesity within the not too distant future.

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