WW International Now Offers Weight Loss Pill Program

WW International (WW) (formerly Weight Watchers) is dominating headlines in 2023 with the launch of a program for individuals using GLP-1 drugs to lose weight. The launch comes as WW board member Oprah Winfrey revealed she had been using such diet pills despite comments criticizing the trend in recent months.

Yahoo Finance’s Brooke DiPalma breaks down WW International’s nutritional plans, which include the popular weight-loss drug, and how pharmaceutical stocks are reacting.

For more expert insights and the latest market updates, click here to watch the full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Video transcript

Rachel Akufo: Weight Watchers is getting into the weight-loss drug space, launching a new program today to support people who use weight-loss drugs. The news comes after Weight Watchers spokesperson Oprah Winfrey revealed she had been using diet pills. Brooke DePalma joins me now to share more. I remember seeing photos of Oprah at the premiere of The Color Purple. I was like, she looks great!

Brooke DePalma: And she did. I’m in awe of it too. That purple dress looks so charming on her. Of course, now she has indeed spread the news that she is taking weight loss pills. But she did not specify which one.

Now, also note that Oprah Winfrey has been on the board of directors of Weight Watchers International. Of course, since 2015, the company was formerly known as Weight Watchers. She also owns $8.29 million worth of shares in the company, based on Wednesday’s closing price.

Weight Watchers is trying to jump on the hottest diet pill trend this year, according to Yahoo Finance. A spokesperson for WW International told Yahoo Finance this morning that this new GLP-1 program is designed to help consumers taking GLP-1 drugs manage their lives while managing the unique behavioral needs they face.

Now, as you can see here, some of the tools in this new program are making sure that consumers taking medications have adequate nutrition, specifically protein and nutrient-dense foods, as well as hydration. They also provide daily nutrition activities targeting the GLP preferred food list, recipes, weight, activity and food trackers, and many other tools of this new program to once again assist people taking these GLP-1 medications.

In addition, Novo Nordisk, one of the suppliers of weight loss drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy, has performed strongly this year, growing 45% from the same period last year. That gain outpaced the S&P 500, which is up just 19% so far this year. Going into 2024, these weight loss drugs will bring huge momentum.

Rachel Akufo: What’s interesting is that it’s combined with a weight loss program rather than people using it as a quick fix. Therefore, Brooke, WeightWatchers also provides users with GLP-1 prescriptions through its online telemedicine clinic. What can you tell us?

Brooke DePalma: Yes, Rachel. Well, WeightWatchers (WW International) acquired Sequence, a telemedicine clinic, earlier this year because they are really trying to become a digital health company. They’re trying to move forward in the future, trying to move away from this diet culture and eventually move towards digital health companies. Ultimately, WW International did tell me this morning that this latest GLP-1 program is not intended to help patients wean themselves off the drug.

But it does offer other programs, such as a points program that tracks the calories and nutritional value of different foods, which is largely what Weight Watchers is known for. They also add that if users of these drugs want to be free of help or decisions between patient and clinician programs, it does have other programs that can help.

But with this new program, they will be able to prescribe medication to users. But Weight Watchers does lean on their popularity, saying it also has a points program to step in if patients and clinicians make that choice. [? also, ?] Wondering if WW International went up on this news today, it did go up 10% [INAUDIBLE] The market is open.

Rachel Akufo: I mean, of course. Always, it’s always good to have some options. Of course, when you have a name like Oprah Winfrey behind you, it’s going to attract some attention. Thank you, Brooke DePalma. Thank you so much.

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