Would a Patent Buyout for Ozempic Slim Healthcare Expenditures?
Two big reasons to doubt that this would lower overall expenditures. First, if widespread use of Ozempic reduces obesity-related expenditures, it will likely lead to longer lifespans—and the illnesses of old age would likely cost more than the savings from Ozempic. (There’s a dark policy joke that says if you want to reduce HC spending, persuade everyone to begin smoking cigarettes at age 10. Far fewer will long long enough to rack up the expenses associated with old age.) Second, even if Ozempic’s cost benefits more than offset the resulting extra old-age spending, it’s likely that the freed-up funds would be diverted to other HC expenses—including new, innovative services whose development could be financed out of the Ozempic-related cuts. … Good article, Markus. I’m working on a piece on these two effects right now.
We don’t know the long term effects of semaglutide and how durable the effects are. There should be a hook in any buyout that takes into account that the effects may wear off or that there could be adverse effects that did not show up in trials.