Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. said Thursday that it has launched LillyDirect, an online service that will offer direct home delivery of Lilly’s obesity, migraine and diabetes medications.
Lilly said the service will also provide disease management resources and help connect patients to independent telehealth providers who can “complement a patient’s current primary care team or be an alternative to in-person care for certain conditions.”
Among the medications listed as available through LillyDirect Pharmacy Services is Zepbound, the company’s popular new weight loss treatment, which is projected to exceed $2 billion in sales in 2024. The drug was approved to treat obesity in late November.
Also listed are migraine treatment Emgality and diabetes medications Basaglar, Humalog, Humulin, Lyumjev and Rezvoglar.
Lilly’s Mounjaro, which uses the same drug (tirzepatide) as Zepbound, but is approved to treat type 2 diabetes, is not listed under the service’s available medications.
“A complex U.S. health care system adds to the burdens patients face when managing a chronic disease,” Lilly CEO David Ricks said in written remarks. “With LillyDirect, our goal is to relieve some of those burdens by simplifying the patient experience to help improve outcomes. LillyDirect offers more choices in how and where people access health care, including a convenient home delivery option to fill Lilly medicines they have been prescribed.”
Lilly said obtaining medicines directly will allow patients to “easily access Lilly’s affordability solutions and savings card opportunities,” which are “automatically applied for patients who qualify.” The companies said the medications will be shipped without charges.
Lilly shares were up1.7% in morning trading, to $628.04 per share after hitting a record high of $631.18 earlier Thursday.
Also on Thursday, Lilly cautioned against using its popular diabetes and obesity drugs for “cosmetic weight loss” as off-label use of the medications has skyrocketed and shortages ensued.
“Mounjaro and Zepbound are indicated for the treatment of serious diseases; they are not approved for—and should not be used for—cosmetic weight loss,” the company said in a written statement.
Neither drug is approved for weight loss in people who don’t have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or obesity. Weight-loss drugs were popularized after social media influencers on TikTok and celebrities such as Elon Musk touted rival Novo Nordisk A/S’s Ozempic and Wegovy, which have similar effects. The demand prompted supply troubles, which impacted the ability of people with diabetes to get their medications.
Lilly did not outline any additional steps it is taking to prevent off-label use. The company also said it was concerned about knock-off versions of its medicines that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some of which have been found to contain impurities.