Cost-effectiveness analysis of semaglutide 2.4 mg for the treatment of adult patients with overweight and obesity in the United States

Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, 2022


The rising prevalence and associated public health burden of obesity has led to advancements in pharmaceuticals for weight management. Semaglutide 2.4 mg, an anti-obesity medication (AOM) recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, has demonstrated clinically relevant weight loss in its phase 3 clinical trials. Economic evaluation comparing semaglutide 2.4 mg with other available weight management therapies is essential to inform payers for decision-making.


To assess the cost-effectiveness of semaglutide 2.4 mg in the treatment of adult patients with obesity (ie, body mass index [BMI] ≥ 30) and adult patients who are overweight (ie, BMI 27-29.9) with 1 or more weight-related comorbidities from a US third-party payer perspective.


A cohort Markov model was constructed to compare semaglutide 2.4 mg with the following comparators: no treatment, diet and exercise (D&E), and 3 branded AOMs (liraglutide 3 mg, phentermine-topiramate, and naltrexone-bupropion). All AOMs, including semaglutide 2.4 mg, were assumed to be taken in conjunction with D&E. Changes in BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol level, experience of acute and chronic obesity-related complications, costs, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were simulated over 30 years based on pivotal trials of the AOMs and other relevant literature. Drug and health care prices reflect 2021 standardized values. Cost-effectiveness was examined with a willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold of $150,000 per QALY gained. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to test the robustness of the cost-effectiveness results to plausible variation in model inputs.


In the base-case analysis, treatment with semaglutide 2.4 mg was estimated to improve QALYs by 0.138 to 0.925 and incur higher costs by $3,254 to $25,086 over the 30-year time horizon vs comparators. Semaglutide 2.4 mg is cost-effective against all comparators at the prespecified WTP threshold, with the incremental cost per QALY gained ranging from $23,556 to $144,296 per QALY gained. In the sensitivity analysis, extended maximum treatment duration, types of subsequent treatment following therapy discontinuation, and weight-rebound rates were identified as key drivers for model results. The estimated probability of semaglutide 2.4 mg being cost-effective compared with comparators ranged from 67% to 100% when varying model parameters and assumptions.


As a long-term weight management therapy, semaglutide 2.4 mg was estimated to be cost-effective compared with no treatment, D&E alone, and all other branded AOM comparators under a WTP threshold of $150,000 per QALY gained over a 30-year time horizon.

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Kim N, Wang J, Burudpakdee C, Song Y, Ramasamy A, Xie Y, Sun R, Kumar N, Wu EQ, Sullivan SD