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Bernie Sanders Announces Investigation into Ozempic and Wegovy Pricing


Sanders wrote a letter to Novo Nordisk announcing the investigation.



The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is launching an investigation into the prices of popular weight loss drugs Wegovy and Ozempic.

Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to Novo Nordisk announcing the investigation,1 citing the “outrageously high prices” that the company is charging for the drugs in the United States. Both drugs have become popular in the US over the past year due to endorsements from celebrities and influencers. As a result, Novo Nordisk has struggled to maintain a proper supply of the medications.

In his letter, Sanders writes, “The scientists at Novo Nordisk deserve great credit for developing these drugs that have the potential to be a game changer for millions of Americans struggling with type 2 diabetes and obesity. As important as these drugs are, they will not do any good for the millions of patients who cannot afford them. Further, if the prices for these products are not substantially reduced, they also have the potential to bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid, and our entire health care system. The United States Congress and the federal government cannot allow that to happen.”

Sanders continues to explain that Novo Nordisk charges significantly more for the two medications in the US than it does in Canada, Europe, and Japan. He cites the price of a month’s supply of Ozempic, which costs $969 for patients in the US. Meanwhile, a month’s supply of the same medication only costs $155 in Canada and $59 in Germany. Sanders cites a similar discrepancy in the price of Wegovy.

“Researchers at Yale University estimate that both of these drugs can be profitably manufactured for less than $5 a month,” Sanders writes.

He continues, “Moreover, your company is also charging patients two different prices for the exact same drug. While Novo Nordisk asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve Ozempic for type 2 diabetes and Wegovy for chronic weight management for people with obesity, they are the same drug: semaglutide. Semaglutide for diabetes is marketed as Ozempic, while semaglutide for weight management is marketed as Wegovy. Novo Nordisk charges Americans with obesity nearly $400 more every month than those with type 2 diabetes for the same product provided in similar doses.”

Both drugs are made with the same active ingredient, Wegovy and Ozempic contain different doses of semaglutide. Ozempic is specifically designed and produced to treat type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy is meant specifically for weight loss.

Sanders’ letter continues to discuss the impact that these drugs can have on the American population. In the US, obesity is common among adults, and these medications can help a significant number of people lose a substantial amount of body fat.

“Wegovy could make losing weight easier, which could result in significant and sustained quality of life improvements for millions of Americans,” Sanders writes. “In trials before Wegovy’s approval, Novo Nordisk found that patients on Wegovy ‘lost an average of 12.4% of their initial body weight.’ In later trials, Novo Nordisk also found that Wegovy reduced the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths. In a country where 1.6 million people suffer heart attacks or strokes each year and where heart disease is the leading cause of death, the reduced risk of those life-altering events could lead to increased longevity and higher quality of life for tens of thousands of patients every year.”

In a statement obtained by CNN,2 a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk responded to Sanders’ letter, saying, ““It’s easy to oversimplify the science that goes into understanding disease and developing and producing new treatments, as well as the intricacies of U.S. and global healthcare systems. However, the public debate doesn’t always take into account this extremely complex reality.”


  1. Sanders, Bernie. Letter to Novo Nordisk. United States Senate. April 24, 2024. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.sanders.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/Letter-from-Sen.-Bernard-Sanders-to-Novo-Nordisk.pdf
  2. Luhby, Tami. Sanders Launches Senate Investigation into 'Outrageously High' Pricing of Ozempic, Wegovy. CNN. April 24, 2024. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/24/health/senate-ozempic-wegovy-price/index.html
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