Americans are consuming weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy so fast that a telehealth company developed a free tool to help patients find their next dose.

The new tracker, which telehealth company Ro announced Wednesday, lets users report when they find a pharmacy with the drugs, known as GLP-1s, in stock. A user can also report shortages to help inform others. The tool is free for everyone and not limited to Ro customers. 

Along with crowdsourced information from users, the tool also pulls data from the Food and Drug Administration’s Drug Shortage List. Users can report shortages directly to the FDA through the tracker if they choose to.

To help get their medicine, patients can set up automated alerts to notify them when a pharmacy in their area has some of the drugs in stock. The alert includes information to help them transfer their prescriptions as well. If the user is a Ro customer, the company can transfer their prescription for them.

Courtesy of Ro

Ro’s CEO, Zachariah Reitano, said the new tracker is helping patients navigate shortages with GLP-1s, which help treat conditions such as diabetes but have exploded in popularity because they can trigger weight loss. 

The shortages caused by outsized demand have forced some patients with dire need for the drugs to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to reach a pharmacy with the medications in stock. Others have tried using social media to help each other find the medications. 

“The GLP-1 shortage challenges are exacerbated by a lack of accurate, up-to-date, and accessible GLP-1 supply information. Patients deserve better,” Reitano said in a statement. 

The tracker isn’t just for patients, said Ro’s chief medical officer Dr. Melynda Barnes; it could also help doctors make more informed decisions.

“Providers can use the GLP-1 Supply Tracker to stay informed about supply so that they can best counsel their patients on the most clinically appropriate and reliably available GLP-1 treatment,” she said.
The GLP-1 shortages have led some health companies, including Ro as well as Hims & Hers, to create lower-cost duplicates, made possible through an exception to FDA rules, to help meet demand. While Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy can set a patient back more than $1,300 without insurance, Ro’s compounded treatment uses the same active ingredient as GLP-1s and costs just $299 a month.

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