Kroger Health revamps weight management program to include GLP-1 drugs

FILE PHOTO: A combination image shows an injection pen of Zepbound, Eli Lilly's weight loss drug, and boxes of Wegovy, made by Novo Nordisk

(Reuters) -Kroger Health, the arm of grocer Kroger that runs pharmacies and clinics across the U.S., said on Friday it had revamped its weight management program to allow patients to explore medical treatments, including access to GLP-1s such as Wegovy, Zepbound and others.

Kroger joins retail peer Costco Wholesale in offering access to the vastly popular GLP-1 agonists, a class of highly effective diabetes and obesity drugs.

Kroger Health's The Little Clinic will offer the program starting at $99 per visit both in person and through telehealth options.

GLP-1 drugs have been in strong demand in the U.S., but have faced intermittent shortages over the past year, with makers such as Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk's racing to ramp up supply.

Zepbound was launched by Lilly as a weight-loss treatment in the U.S. in December last year and listed at $1,059.87 a month at the time. Novo Nordisk's Wegovy, which was approved for obesity treatment in 2021, was listed at $1,349 per-package.

About one in eight adults in the U.S. has taken a drug belonging to the GLP-1 class of medications for weight loss and related conditions, a poll by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed in May.

About 54% of those who have taken GLP-1 drugs found it a challenge to afford them, even with insurance, the poll showed.

Kroger Health operates more than 2,200 pharmacies and 226 clinics in 35 states in the U.S.

(Reporting by Juveria Tabassum; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)