The GLP-1 Squeeze on Employers
The discussion panel focused on the topic of diabetes and weight loss drugs, particularly GLP-1 drugs. The drugs have garnered much popularity, and many patients are eager to access them for weight management. However, employers, who are often relied upon for access to these medications, are struggling with the costs associated with them. Some businesses have started reducing coverage for these drugs due to the expense. The panelists presented varying perspectives on how to manage these drugs. Dr. Melinda Barnes, a Chief Medical Officer, advocated for a patient-centric approach and discussed the importance of viewing obesity as a chronic disease. Others, like Lucia Guillory from Versa Health, pushed for coupling the drug with lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise. Andreas May from Blackstone's equity healthcare division stressed the economic realities of covering these drugs and the challenges it poses for businesses. Whaley Shell from Amoda Health suggested creating companion programs to support patients on these drugs. The panel also touched on the issue of health equity and the need for better access and personalized care for marginalized communities.