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Hims & Hers Is Now Selling Semaglutide: Here's What You Should Know

<p>Photo Illustration by Amelia Manley for Verywell Health; Hims & Hers</p>

Photo Illustration by Amelia Manley for Verywell Health; Hims & Hers

Fact checked by Nick BlackmerFact checked by Nick Blackmer

Key Takeaways

  • Telehealth prescription company Hims & Hers has a new semaglutide initiative.

  • The program will offer compounded semaglutide to customers starting from $199 a month.

  • The company also plans to sell branded Wegovy and Ozempic when it is available.



Semaglutide has become a breakout drug in the past year thanks to data that show it can help people lose a significant amount of weight. But high demand means that brand-name semaglutide medications, like Wegovy and Ozempic, have been in and out of shortage. They also tend to have high price tags, leaving them out of reach for many.

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This week, telehealth prescription company Hims & Hers launched an initiative to offer glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists, a class of medications that includes semaglutide, from a compounded pharmacy at a relatively affordable starting price of $199 a month. The company also stresses a personalized approach to weight loss for customers. Him & Hers isn’t the only company offering compounded semaglutide, but it is one of the bigger names providing this service.

Related: Is Compounded Semaglutide Safe?

What Is a Compounded Medication?

For the new initiative, Him & Hers—which also provides access to hair growth, erectile dysfunction, and acne solutions—has partnered with a compounded pharmacy to get GLP-1 medications.

Compounded drugs are made up of a combination of ingredients or altered ingredients in order to replicate a drug in a shortage or to create a tailored version of a drug for a specific patient (for instance, someone who may be allergic to an ingredient in a medication they need).

Compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and do not require review for safety, effectiveness, or quality. However, a medication can be compounded if the approved version is in shortage—which some forms of semaglutide currently are.

In January, the FDA said that patients should not use a compounded semaglutide if an approved version of the drug, such as Wegovy, is available.

As part of the initiative, Hims & Hers is giving eligible customers access to compounded GLP-1 treatments starting at $199 a month. (By comparison, a month’s supply of Wegovy is often more than $1,300 without health insurance, and Ozempic is $937 and up.)

The company also plans to offer access to brand-name medications like Ozempic and Wegovy “as supply becomes more readily available,” according to its press release.

The company stresses “personalization” with its new initiative. “We believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness treatments, and studies show that no single treatment available works for everyone,” Craig Primack, MD, senior vice president of weight management with Hims & Hers, told Verywell.

While this doesn’t mean personalized doses or formulas, it means a holistic approach to weight management. “That means—in addition to sleep, movement, and nutrition tools—offering the option of oral medications, compounded GLP-1s, or branded GLP-1 medications as supply becomes more readily available so that customers can truly personalize their experience," Primack said.

What Lab Are They Using?

Hims & Hers will supply its GLP-1 medications from BPI Labs, which is registered with the FDA. That makes them subject to state and federal oversight, Primack noted. However, this does not mean that the medication is FDA-approved or tested by the FDA for safety and effectiveness.

What Active Ingredients Will Be Used?

Customers who are eligible for Hims & Hers’ GLP-1 medication will receive drugs with the same active ingredient—semaglutide—as Ozempic and Wegovy, Primack said.

Primack pointed out that the company’s compounding pharmacy partner uses ingredients listed with the drug master file with the FDA “to make the compounded version as close to the base product as possible.” (The base product, in this case, would be Wegovy, Ozempic or similar medications.)

Will Anyone Keep Track of Adverse Reactions and Side Effects?

Because this is not an FDA-approved medication, it’s unlikely that the FDA will track adverse reactions to the drug. However, Primack said the pharmacy “is subject to state and federal oversight.”

According to a spokesperson from Belcher Pharmaceuticals, the owner of BPI labs, adverse events will be tracked.

"BPI Labs ensures that all adverse events are properly documented, investigated, and reported to FDA within the stipulated regulatory requirements," Supriya Taneja, vice president/general counsel for Belcher Pharmaceuticals, told Verywell via email. "BPI Labs follows the FDA guideline on Adverse Event Reporting for Outsourcing Facilities under 503B of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. As part of this process, BPI Labs controls the surveillance, receipt, evaluation, reporting, and tracking of all adverse events."

Is It $199 a Month for Everyone?

Primack said the $199 price tag will be offered to all eligible customers. However, the GLP-1 medications will “start” at $199 a month—meaning, you could end up paying more. “That price varies by the cadence the customer chooses—i.e., choosing a 30-day supply vs. a full-year supply,” Primack said.

Is This Safe?

There are concerns with using any compounded medication, given that it’s not an FDA-approved drug. However, it’s not unheard of to go this route.

“Compounded indications are very common, especially in situations like this where it may be difficult to get a medication through pharmacies because of shortages,” Mir Ali, MD, bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA, told Verywell.

It’s important to note that the FDA said in January that people should not use a compounded GLP-1 medication if an approved drug is available.

While using a compounding pharmacy is nothing new, “I do recommend going to a doctor’s office, because they’re held to a higher standard than most companies trying to make a profit,” Ali said.

Will the Compounded Drugs Run Out, Too?

While brand-name versions of semaglutide have been in and out of shortage, there does not seem to be a concern with compounded versions running out at this point.

“There is a potential you can run out of the ingredients that make up the medication, but there are a number of pharmacies throughout the country that are able to produce it,” Ali said. “So far, we haven’t seen a shortage [of semaglutide] in compounded pharmacies.”

Is Anyone Else Selling Compounded Semaglutide?

Many online pharmacies are already selling compounded semaglutide. A popular example includes Ro, which also serves as a remote provider for hair loss, sexual health, hair, and skin solutions, and now has a compounded semaglutide medication program. Ro offers a Body Program for $145 a month to help people lose weight through medications and coaching, but it does not include the cost of the company’s compounded semaglutide medication. Another example is Henry, which offers compounded semaglutide for $297 a month.



What This Means For You

If you’re interested in trying a compounded semaglutide medication, Ali recommends talking to a healthcare professional first, if you’re able to access one. “They can make sure this is safe for you,” he said. “One they’ve established that, it’s reasonable to reach out to these types of places. Just make sure you’re going to someplace reputable.”



Read the original article on Verywell Health.