Ozempic has been growing in popularity. From celebrities to influencers, the drug has caught the imagination of the masses. Yet, key questions over its safety and usage remain. In this Ozempic report, we examine search engine data. As a digital agency for health brands, we analyse significant volumes of online information. Therefore, we look to uncover what is driving consumer behaviour and the risks facing Ozempic users that need resolving.
Who makes Ozempic? And how does Ozempic work?
The manufacturer of Ozempic is Novo Nordisk. The drug, known generically as Semaglutide, was originally intended for diabetes management. However, it has garnered widespread attention as a weight loss jab. It works by making Ozempic users feel fuller after eating. It slows down how quickly your stomach empties and mimics hormones that make you feel full.
Wannabe Ozempic users making over 1m searches in the US each month
Our data insights indicate there has been a significant surge in online interest since the end of 2022. In the first six months of 2023, the US saw a 170% increase in Ozempic online-related searches. In the UK it was 150%. Yet, this is not a surprise. The data increase is attributable to the relative infancy of the drug. Ozempic only received FDA approval in 2017. Moreover, for the following five years, it was largely seen as a diabetes management drug.
However, that has now changed. There are now an astonishing 165,000 searches per month in the UK alone for Ozempic. In the US, where Ozempic was launched two years before the UK, there are 1.22m searches per month.
Yet, that’s before calculating other Ozempic-related searches. For instance, in the US, there are approximately 2.5m Ozempic-related searches. This includes potential Ozempic users asking where they can buy it to dosage. Interestingly, when we calculate diabetes-related Ozempic monthly searches in the US, the numbers are tiny in comparison. There are approximately 4,500 monthly searches related to Ozempic and its impact on diabetes in the US. That is 0.18% of all Ozempic-related searches in the US per month.
So, what is causing this rapid interest in using Ozempic?
The obvious answer is the promise of helping people lose weight. Studies into the impact of Ozempic have grown, with one indicating it can induce 10–18% in weight loss. As a result, Ozempic users are on the rise.
However, as a digital agency for health companies, we understand studies alone do not invoke this level of interest. The key has been growing online interest. Social media can have a transformative impact on a company’s or product’s brand appeal. We can see this with Ozempic. It has triggered a significant volume of online discussions, with the hashtag #Ozempic being viewed 1.2 billion times on TikTok. To further fuel this interest, notable personalities from Elon Musk to Boris Johnson have discussed using Ozempic.
Why is Ozempic so expensive?
In the US a month’s supply of Ozempic can set consumers back approximately $1000. In the UK, the price is cheaper but will still cost approx. £200 ($250) per month. Interestingly a study indicated that the minimum profitable price for the drug was $40. Yet, costs remain sky-high. A key reason for this is the exclusivity Novo Nordisk has on the drug. Consequently, they can keep costs high until their exclusivity agreement ends in 2032.
Yet, is this a concern for potential Ozempic users? Determining the exact number of people concerned about the cost is challenging. This is due to search habits clouding the precise figures. For example, there are 40,500 searches per month in the US for Ozempic cost. Yet, this can include people who are both concerned and just interested in the price.
However, there are almost 1,000 searches in the US asking why the cost is so high. Moreover, there is a worrying trend of people looking to see the cost in other countries. For example, in the US people search for the cost of Ozempic in Mexico over 1,000 times per month. That’s before deep diving into people searching for the cost in other neighbouring countries.
Yet, this raises concerns over safety. With costs so high, will people neglect the risks at hand?
Ozempic Long-term side effects. Potential Ozempic users ignore the consequences
In the UK NICE has recommended making Semaglutide available for weight loss on the NHS. However, Ozempic is not currently licensed for such purposes. Moreover, a prescription is currently required, although that has not stopped the growing interest or the risk of people buying it online and bypassing the appropriate measures.
Yet our data outlines a concern the Ozempic industry needs to address. In the UK, searches for Ozempic side effects are only around 19% of the total volume of people searching for the jab. In the US, it is 17%. This is a concern as access to the jab online becomes easier outside of a controlled prescription. Do people really understand the impact on their health? Potential side effects include thyroid tumours, including cancer. Moreover, the European Medicines Agency is currently reviewing 150 cases of people having suicidal thoughts after taking a semaglutide product.
Ozempic users likely to increase
Given the level of interest generated, Ozermpic users are likely to increase. From social media to mainstream publications, Ozempic has become a hot topic. Yet more needs to be done. The data suggests people are looking for a quick solution to weight management. However, this can come at a cost. Without understanding the side effects, it could lead to an increase in black market sales. This becomes more likely with costs so high.