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  • Ferrin Williams, PharmD MBA

HIMS Introduces Compounded GLP-1 Injections: A Must-Read Update for Plan Sponsors



In the wake of Hims & Hers’ decision to introduce compounded GLP-1 injections, insights offered by Truist and Dr. Scott Mazza, Director of Pharmacy at ZipHealth and CDRX, offer more context for plan sponsors evaluating these meds as potential additions to benefit plans.


Dr. Mazza highlights that compounded drugs, while not subjected to the same extensive testing as commercial drugs, are essential when shortages arise or specific patient needs must be met. Historically, all drugs were compounded until the 1930s. Today, compounding addresses shortages and offers tailored medications.


As mentioned in our previous article, the distinction between 503A and 503B compounding pharmacies is crucial. 503A pharmacies produce patient-specific prescriptions, while 503B facilities manufacture larger batches under strict cGMP regulations, ensuring higher safety and quality standards.


The current shortage of semaglutide is largely due to delivery device issues rather than a lack of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). Hims & Hers’ partnership with a 503B manufacturer aims to mitigate this issue by providing a more accessible and affordable option. However, plan sponsors should consider potential dosage accuracy concerns with vial and syringe methods compared to prefilled


 

Additional Considerations for Plan Sponsors:

  1. Be Cautious of Overgeneralizations by Industry Experts: Plan sponsors should be wary of industry experts who categorize all compounded medications uniformly. Experts may cite concerns like “semaglutide from a vial specifically states 'Not for Human Consumption'” or question the use of semaglutide salt forms. These concerns often stem from negative experiences with 'MedSpas' and unregulated semaglutides, which do not reflect the regulated and compliant practices of Hims & Hers’ 503B manufacturing partnership.

  2. Evaluate Available Product Options: Plan sponsors should consider not only the choice of pharmacy but also the availability of different product options. Beyond the pharmacy, sponsors should assess the range of products and formulations available to meet the needs of their members. This includes evaluating the stability, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of different product options, ensuring they align with the long-term needs and goals of the plan and its members.


 

At $199 per month, compounded semaglutide offers significant cost savings over branded options priced between $800 and $1,600. Plan sponsors are encouraged to evaluate this cost-effective alternative, balancing it with regulatory considerations and the long-term needs of their members.


This update is informed by insights from Truist and Dr. Scott Mazza.

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