Weight-Loss Drug Industry Could Grow to Be Worth $100 Billion to $200 Billion in 10 Years

As injectable drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic — originally intended for people with diabetes — make headlines for their weight loss benefits, Barclays bank recently stated that the global weight-loss therapeutic market could be worth $100 billion to $200 billion in the next decade. Other firms are taking a more conservative view with Citi pharmaceuticals analyst Pete Verduit estimating a $50 billion value by 2030 and Morgan Stanley estimating $54 billion, but regardless of the valuation, the weight-loss drug market is growing into a giant.

This summer, a study will be released sharing whether these drugs also help decrease heart attack and stroke risk, according to Barclays.

Depending on what that study shows, the health club industry may have an even bigger uphill battle to market the benefits of exercise on health when a growing number of people may turn to a pill thinking it provides all the benefits of exercise.

But those of us in the fitness industry know that this is not the case. There may be advisable reasons for some people to use weight loss drugs, but these drugs don’t build heart muscles, leg muscles or any other muscle like exercise does. And through the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of people began to understand the positive impact exercise has on their mental health, something these weight loss drugs cannot yet claim to do.

In addition, many of these drugs are cost prohibitive for much of the world’s population. If people won’t spend $49 per month on a gym membership, then they likely won’t spend hundreds of dollars per month on a pill, even if the pill works without them breaking a sweat.

However, if insurance companies see the benefits of covering the cost of these weight-loss pills due to improved health outcomes, then these pills become a bigger competitor.

Currently, the World Health Organization estimates that globally 1 billion people are obese, which is three times as many people as 10 years ago. Of those people, 39 million are children and 340 million are teens.

A growing percentage of these people will be on these weight-loss drugs as the decade progresses. The fitness industry needs to determine how to ensure those on the drugs and those not on the drugs understand that whether or not they are popping these pills, exercise is still a recommended and essential part of good health and increased longevity.

It's time for the industry to work together to get this message out there.