Poll: 1 in 8 Adults Say They’ve Taken a GLP-1 Drug, Including 4 in 10 of Those with Diabetes and 1 in 4 of Those with Heart Disease 

About one in eight adults (12%) say they have taken one of an increasingly popular class of prescription drugs known as GLP-1s that are used for weight loss and to treat diabetes and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, a new KFF Health Tracking Poll finds. This includes 6% of adults who say they are currently taking one of these drugs, which include Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro

The shares of adults who report ever taking these drugs is highest among people with diabetes (43%), followed by those with heart disease (26%) and those who have obesity or overweight (22%), the poll finds. 

Among those who report ever taking the drugs, most (61%) say that they took the drugs to treat a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease – either alone (39%) or in combination with losing weight (23%). Nearly four in ten (38%) say that they took the drugs solely to lose weight.

List prices for GLP-1 drugs can top $1,000 for a month’s supply prior to insurance coverage, rebates, and discount coupons. About half (54%) of those who report ever taking the drugs say it was difficult to afford them, including one in five (22%) who say it was “very difficult.”  

Having insurance coverage makes little difference to patients’ perceptions of the drugs’ affordability, with similar shares of those covered by insurance saying the drugs were difficult (53%) or very difficult (23%) to afford.

Most of the Public Favors Medicare Coverage of Weight-Loss Drugs Even After Hearing Competing Arguments 

While 9% of older adults ages 65 and older report ever taking the drugs, few (1%) say they did so solely for weight loss – likely reflecting Medicare’s prohibition on the coverage of prescription weight-loss drugs. Medicare covers some of the drugs for diabetes and other conditions.

About six in ten adults (61%) say that Medicare should cover these drugs when prescribed for weight loss for people who are overweight. This includes similar shares across age groups, and more than half of Democrats, independents, and Republicans.

The poll also tested the impact of arguments for and against Medicare coverage, with short descriptions explaining that it could increase premiums for people with Medicare and place financial pressure on the Medicare program and the federal budget, but that it could help more people afford the medications and improve the health and quality of life of people who are overweight.

Those arguments did little to change the public’s views, with similar shares of the public overall and the various subgroups continuing to favor Medicare coverage. 

Other findings include:

•    About eight in ten (82%) adults say they have heard at least “a little” about these drugs, including about three in ten (32%) who say they have heard “a lot” about them. Awareness is up since July 2023, when about one in five (19%) said they heard a lot about the drugs.

•    About eight in ten (79%) adults who have taken GLP-1 drugs report getting these drugs or a prescription for them from their primary care doctor or a specialist. Fewer report getting them from an online provider or website (11%), a medical spa or aesthetic medical center (10%), or somewhere else (2%). 

Designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at KFF. The survey was conducted April 23-May 1, 2024, online and by telephone among a nationally representative sample of 1,479 U.S. adults in English and in Spanish. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample. For results based on other subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.

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