GLP-1 Drug War: Obese Patients Are Typically Twice as Likely To Lose 15% Or More of Their Body Weight With Eli Lilly and Company’s Mounjaro Drug as Opposed to Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic

This is not investment advice. The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. has a disclosure and ethics policy.

With around $100 billion in annual sales by the end of this decade up for grabs, the GLP-1 drug war for the global waistline is heating up. Around two weeks back, Novo Nordisk created a media spectacle out of a study that claimed its GLP-1 weight loss drug could slash death risk from heart disease by up to 20 percent. This salvo was apparently fired in response to the steeply discounted price at which Eli Lilly and Company began marketing its own GLP-1 drug. Well, today, the American pharma giant is again attacking Novo Nordisk’s proverbial front lines, resplendent in the appropriate war regalia.

Glucagon-Like Peptide-1, or GLP-1 for short, plays an important role in regulating hunger. This hormone forms the bedrock of Novo Nordisk’s Semaglutide offering, marketed under Ozempic and Wegovy labels.

Over the years, Eli Lilly and Company has unveiled various offerings that supplement GLP-1’s ability to reduce the craving for food with a cocktail of other hormones. For instance, its Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) injections leverage GLP-1 as well as Glucose-dependent Insulinotropic Polypeptide (GIP) – to control type-2 diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels. Retatutide, another offering by Eli Lilly and Company, is currently undergoing clinical trials and supposedly offers superior results by targeting three different hunger-regulating hormones: GLP-1, GIP, and Glucagon.

Non-Peer-Reviewed GLP-1 Drug Study: “Patients on [Eli Lilly and Company’s] Tirzepatide Were Significantly More Likely To Achieve 5%, 10%, and 15% Weight Loss and Experience Larger Reductions in Weight at 3, 6, and 12 Months.”

This brings us to the crux of the matter. In our last post on this topic, we had noted that insurers remain reluctant to cover GLP-1 drugs for weight management, owing to their sky-high prices. In a bid to attract these crucial market intermediaries, both Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly and Company have been unveiling their unique gambits aimed at securing the biggest piece of the global GLP-1 drug market.

Today, Eli Lilly and Company is touting a non-peer-reviewed study that purports to show markedly greater effectiveness of its Tirzepatide GLP-1 drug – marketed under the Mounjaro label – at inducing weight loss. Specifically, the study notes:

“A larger proportion of patients on tirzepatide, compared to semaglutide, achieved weight reductions ≥5% (81.8% vs. 64.6%), ≥10% (62.1% vs. 38.0%), and ≥15% (42.3% vs 19.3%) within 1 year on treatment …”

As per the findings of this study, over 81 percent of patients achieved a body weight loss of 5 percent or more with Eli Lilly and Company’s Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) GLP-1 drug. For comparison, just around 65 percent of the patients on Novo Nordisk’s Semaglutide offering were able to achieve this quantum of weight loss within 1 year of treatment. More striking still, this differential performance of the two GLP-1 drugs becomes markedly obvious when one considers the fact that nearly half (42.3 percent) of the eligible patients were able to shed 15 percent or more of their body weight with Tirzepatide as opposed to just around 20 percent with Semaglutide.

Of course, this is just one study in what is sure to be an endless stream in the months and years ahead. Nonetheless, the initial battle appears to be going in favor of Eli Lilly and Company.

Share this story