Harold Bays, MD: Considering the Future of Anti-Obesity Medications


A continued discussion with Dr. Bays on anti-obesity therapies down the line and where they might be in the near future.

In a continued conversation with Harold Bays, MD, Vice President, Chief Science Officer, Obesity Medicine Association, specific focus was placed on the growing popularity of highly effective anti-obesity medications and their status as a “miracle drug.”

Although these agents have now entered the mainstream consciousness as a weight loss tool, Bays said that he is fine about the excitement surrounding the therapies. He notes that whatever downsides there are to it, it would be worse for these medications to be unavailable to anyone.

“On balance, I think it's way, way tilted towards being a positive thing, because you want highly effective anti obesity medications that are generally well tolerated,” Bays said. “And that are undergoing study to not only determine how well it improves the weight of patients, but to also improve the health of patients. I think we all want that.”

However, Bays noted the frustration with the availability of the agents, as access seems to be easier for the higher income population, while others with obesity struggle with access. He also noted that payers may need to assist with availability from a financial standpoint.

“I think the longer these agents are on the market, the more that we have introduction of newer agents with perhaps similar efficacy and safety, then that increase in competition will hopefully start to drive down prices, just like it did with back in the day with newer diabetes therapies or newer hypertensive therapies or newer lipid therapies,” Bays said.

Bays added that the path anti-obesity medications are on are similar to those therapies, where there was pushback at the beginning of their use. However, once cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes studies showed it was important to lower blood sugar and blood pressure or lipids, they went from controversial to standard of care.

“I see a brighter day, just like with these other agents, and I see the day when we are going to have highly effective anti obesity medications that are going to be affordable and going to be proven to be safe, generally well tolerated and have outcomes benefits,” Bays said. “It's just the frustration right now is we want where we're going to be 10 years from now. We want that now.”

Part one of the conversation is available here.

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