Simple Online Pharmacy 2023 Weight Loss Survey - Hub Page
Simple Online Pharmacy is pleased to bring you our findings from our first of its kind, fully comprehensive patient survey into the impact of using weight loss medications. This survey was initiated following our analysis that we had supported our patients in losing 113 metric tonnes of weight through the prescribing of weight care medications. This weight loss, if maintained, saves the NHS £6,893,221 annually in reduced healthcare costs. There has been a further NHS cost-avoidance of £28m taking into account the weight loss medication costs which patients have funded themselves privately (based on external study calculations). With obesity being one of the largest healthcare challenges that we face today as a society, we were encouraged by the impact this medication and our service is having, and we wanted to learn more; tapping into our vast patient base to understand the wider impacts of these weight care medications.
The wide ranging and extensive survey was distributed to over 25,000 patients who have experienced a significant reduction in BMI, with over 400 individuals taking part. Key findings were split into five sections and in-depth full results can be found through links contained within this page.
We will first provide more detail on how we have determined the NHS savings figure of £6,893,221.
A recent study provides insight into the costs to the NHS of patients living with obesity (BMI in excess of 30) vs those that have a BMI of under 30. Using the health records of 2.4 million adults in north-west London, researchers found spending increased for heavier patients, primarily for obesity-related conditions. While this was not a medical study, some of the figures presented are very interesting to us as a pharmacy, given the fresh insights into the impact of weight loss medications.
The study found:
- Patients of a healthy weight cost the NHS an average of £638 annually
- Patients with a BMI of more than 40 cost the NHS £1,375 annually (these patients are referred to as morbidly obese)
- Patients with a BMI of 30 to 35 cost the health service an average of £979 annually
- Patients with a BMI between 35 and 40 cost the NHS £1,178 annually
Here at Simple Online Pharmacy, we were one of the first UK businesses to start diagnosing, prescribing and dispensing weight care medications. There has been significant interest and high demand for these treatments. At Simple Online Pharmacy we have diagnosed, prescribed and dispensed anti-obesity medication to over 120,000 patients in the UK to date; this makes us one of the largest private providers of weight loss medications in the UK.
We have calculated that over this time period, we have supported our patients to lose over 113 metric tons of weight using weight loss medications. We were interested to understand the wider impact of this weight loss, in terms of the impact on the NHS, and the impact on the people that have been successful in losing weight.
Using the data from this study, we looked at the number of our patients that had dropped material BMI brackets, to understand the cost savings to the NHS. We found that we have supported:
- 5,550 patients to move from a BMI over 40 to under 40 (assumption is that annual costs reduce from £1,375 to £1,178, saving £197 per patient per year)
- 8,195 patients to move from a BMI between 35 and 40 to a BMI under 35 (assumption is that annual NHS costs reduce from £1,178 to £979, saving £199 per patient per year)
- 12,226 patients to move from a BMI between 30 to 34 and a minimum BMI below 30 (annual NHS costs reduce from £979 to £638 - saving £341 per patient per year)
Combining these savings adds to a total NHS annual saving of £6,893,221. This assumes that all our patients dropped only one BMI bracket, when in fact they may well have dropped more than one. Note this doesn’t include the additional cost avoidance for the NHS of having to treat obesity for these patients - they have opted to do so privately. The cost to the NHS to treat each of these patients for obesity (using just the wholesale list price for the medication, with no clinician time included) would amount to £28 million.
We were so amazed by the collective weight loss of our patients, and the savings to the NHS, that we wanted to understand what else weight loss medication had done for those that had noticed material weight loss. So we went out specifically to these patients that had dropped a material BMI bracket, and surveyed them to understand:
- What had motivated them to try weight loss medications vs other methods they used
- Why they had elected to go privately vs the NHS, and the implications of that
- How they have found sustaining their weight loss
- Physical Health improvements noticed by respondents
- Mental Health improvements noticed by respondents
- Changes in attitude towards self and from others resulting from change in weight
- Influences on developing healthy habits
Follow these links to each section, where we break down the key insights, methods used and the effects that weight loss can have!