Novo Nordisk's $1,000 Ozempic Diabetes Drug Can Be Made for Less Than $5 Monthly

By Thea Felicity

Mar 27, 2024 01:32 PM EDT

This picture taken on October 23, 2023, shows Ozempic medication boxes, an injectable antidiabetic drug, in a pharmacy in Riedisheim, eastern France.
(Photo : Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

recent study reported by Bloomberg suggests that Novo Nordisk's diabetes drug, Ozempic, which retails for nearly $1,000 in the US, could be manufactured for less than $5 a month.

Surprisingly, the study discovered that the most expensive part of making Ozempic isn't the medicine itself (called semaglutide), but the disposable injection pens used to administer it. These pens can be produced for no more than $2.83 per month. Each pen is used weekly and lasts for a month.

The study's findings highlight worries people have had for a while about how fair and clear the prices of drugs are, especially for important medicines like Ozempic, which helps with conditions like diabetes. As discussions about how expensive healthcare is become more intense, more people want drug companies to be clearer about how they set prices and be more responsible.

Researchers from Yale University, King's College Hospital in London, and Doctors Without Borders revealed that Ozempic's production costs range from 89 cents to $4.73 per month. These prices are only a fraction of its market price. 

While Novo Nordisk has chosen not to disclose specific production costs, the company announced its ongoing investments to ensure widespread access to Ozempic and related medications. 

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How Much is Ozempic?

In the United States, Ozempic is priced at approximately $968.52 per month, which is in line with its production cost of $1,000. 

The study does not imply that Ozembic can be bought for only $5. Instead, it suggests that the cost of producing Ozempic could be as low as $5 a month, but the actual price charged to consumers by the manufacturer is much higher. 

If Novo Nordisk followed the study's recommendation of $5, it would reduce the price for consumers.

Prior to this study, Novo Nordisk stated in an email to the Biden Administration that 75% of its total earnings are allocated to rebates and discounts to ensure patients can afford products like semaglutide, the main ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic. 

Drug companies often justify their prices by mentioning the high expenses of long-term research, which amounted to nearly $5 billion last year and is expected to increase this year in the case of Novo Nordisk.

READ MORE: Novo Nordisk Now The 12th Most Valuable Company After Positive Weight Loss Pill Trial, Surpassing Tesla

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