Virtual primary care company LifeMD is jumping on the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) train through its launch of a weight management program, the company announced Tuesday.
New York City-based LifeMD is a direct-to-consumer company and its services are available in all 50 states. It offers treatment for primary care, men’s health, women’s health, allergies, asthma and dermatology. It also provides access to laboratory and pharmacy services.
Through the new weight management program, patients start with a virtual appointment with a clinician, who can then prescribe GLP-1 medications like Wegovy or Ozempic if appropriate. These medications help lower blood sugar to support weight loss and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). GLP-1s are meant for patients with a body mass index of 27 kg/m2 or greater who are suffering from at least one weight-related condition, or patients with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater.
If patients don’t meet these requirements, “you’re going to have to go to another company to get a GLP-1. LifeMD won’t prescribe one for you,” Justin Schreiber, chairman and CEO of LifeMD, declared in an interview. GLP-1s have been in the news for celebrities using the drugs for weight loss.
If patients are approved for GLP-1s, then they undergo lab testing. After that, the LifeMD clinician will review the lab results to create a treatment plan for the patient. They’ll receive ongoing clinical support, coaching, education on GLP-1s and access to diet programs from two companies. Schreiber declined to name these companies.
The program costs $129 a month, but patients can receive a 50% discount for the first three months. The GLP-1 drugs are not included in the cost, but LifeMD will provide insurance concierge services to help patients receive coverage for the medications.
LifeMD launched this program after a short pilot period in which it was supporting between 25 to 100 patients a day, according to Schreiber.
“We’ve been intentionally keeping it slow because we don’t want to onboard a large number of patients and then have operational issues with helping them get therapies,” he said.
About 70% of Americans are overweight or struggle with obesity. People can lose between 10.5 to 15.8 pounds using GLP-1s, but the FDA recommends that they’re used in conjunction with lifestyle changes like exercise and a healthy diet. This is something LifeMD supports, Schreiber said.
“We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help people change their lifestyle, change their eating habits so that they ultimately have an off ramp for the therapy,” he stated.
In creating the solution, LifeMD aims to “make sure that patients are accessing therapies” for weight loss, Schreiber said. But he added that the program also serves as a template for future programs that could address conditions like cardiovascular health.
“The one key part of [a cardiovascular offering] will be most likely a partnership with an FDA cleared in-home [electrocardiogram] device, and combining that with education, with the virtual primary care element. … A lot of people want to be able to speak with a cardiologist because they’re feeling something that seems off,” he said.
Other direct-to-consumer companies include Ro (which offers GLP-1s) and Hims & Hers (which has not started prescribing the drug). Found, a weight care company targeting employers, also recently launched a program that includes access to GLP-1s. In addition, WeightWatchers, a company focused on diet–based lifestyle changes, recently acquired Sequence, a virtual care company that offers GLP-1 prescriptions as well.
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