Noom launches telehealth company to prescribe weight loss pills

Linda Anegawa, a board-certified obesity specialist and medical director of Noom, said the decision to offer GLP-1 agonists—which includes drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy and made waves in the weight loss industry—part of the company’s strategy to treat obesity.

“We have always been interested in chronic disease,” Anegawa said. She added: “We consider weight really a gateway to entry, as obesity can lead to other chronic diseases.

Noom Med is only for people with a BMI over 30 or people with a BMI over 27 and diagnosed with a weight-related illness, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, apnea sleep, dyslipidemia or high cholesterol. Anegawa said the company complies with the criteria set by the Food and Drug Administration for prescribing weight loss pills.

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Only individuals who subscribe to Noom’s weight loss app will be offered a Noom Med membership. Subscribing to Noom Med will provide patients with $49 a month, in addition to the cost of the weight loss app that costs on a scale of $70 a month to $209 a year.

Membership costs for Noom Med will not include medication costs.

The launch of Noom Med marks a significant shift in the way the company approaches weight loss. In the past, Noom has advocated for non-drug obesity treatments, such as psychological support, wellness coaching, and lifestyle changes.

“We’ve heavily indexed the psychological aspect of weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight,” says Anegawa. “But it is increasingly undeniable that biology and psychology go hand in hand.”

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Noom’s decision to prescribe a GLP-1 agonist is just one example of a shift in scientific understanding and public discussion about obesity. Weight Watchers also moved to offer these drugs in March, citing scientific advances in the weight loss industry and the need to address biological factors that contribute to the disease.

In addition to Noom Weight and Noom Med, the company has two other core businesses: Noom Mood, which provides stress management care, and Noom DPP, its diabetes prevention program. Noom was founded in 2008.

This story first appeared in Crain’s New York Business.


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