Found, a company that offers an evidence-based weight loss management program for consumers, is launching a new platform that aims to help employers manage services and cost for workers struggling with weight, including GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.
With medication-assisted obesity care in the headlines, Found for Business offers employers a solution that's based in clinical best practices and is cost-effective and medication-agnostic. Found's approach combines virtual clinical care with personalized medication regimens and behavioral health change, according to an announcement.
A majority of Americans (70%) are overweight or obese, but just 1% of doctors specialize in obesity medicine. Having this perspective built into Found's approach is key as patient demand for GLP-1 products grows, Rekha Kumar, M.D., Found's chief medical officer, told Fierce Healthcare.
Doctors with more training with obesity feel more comfortable in having conversations with patients about their eligibility for GLP-1 drugs and helping them understand the risks and potential alternatives, she said.
"Doctors feel unsure about what to do, particularly if they are untrained," she said.
Found's CEO Sarah Jones Simmer said the team consulted with employers over the last several months to drill down into their largest concerns, and that coincided with the rise in interest in GLP-1 drugs. One employer, she said, saw prescriptions for Ozempic alone increase by more than 400% and found it hard to believe that the firm had increased the number of diabetic workers by that amount in such a short time.
Similarly, another employer found that Ozempic had become its No. 1 drug cost, she said.
"In many ways, it's catching employers off guard," she said.
Found first launched in 2020 and has since grown to 200,000 patients in its direct-to-consumer outreach. It care model combines the powers of 13 different medications, including GLP-1 products when appropriate, to offer over 60 care paths based on what the patient needs.
Medications are then paired with a care plan that includes behavioral changes and is tailored to the patients' individual concerns and lifestyles. Members have access to expert coaching as well as a community of other users, and they can use lifestyle programming and shared resources on their medications.
Even excluding the current trends around GLP-1 drugs, obesity is costly for employers to manage, as costs for these workers are twice as high. For a company with 1,000 employees, obesity costs are estimated to be greater than $3 million each year.
"We know they are desperate to come up solutions as the costs are running away on them," Simmer said.