Costco offering members access to weight-loss programs including medication

(Reuters) – Costco Wholesale will offer its members access to weight-loss programs, including prescription drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, from online healthcare services provider Sesame, as the companies expanded their partnership.

The wholesale retailer’s members can subscribe to Sesame’s weight-loss program for $179 for three months, compared with $195 for non-members, Sesame said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Under the program, a clinician would help the patients with diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications, and may subscribe medications, subject to availability, the blog post said.

The subscription does not cover costs of medication or lab work. The clinicians will work with eligible patients for medication on a pre-authorization, which could reduce cost further, the company told Reuters in statement.

Demand for GLP-1 agonists, a class of highly effective diabetes and obesity drugs, has surged in the last few years, with thousands of prescriptions being filled out every week in the United States.

The membership-only retail chain did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for additional comment. Costco had 130 million members as of Feb. 18, as per the company’s website.

Sesame first partnered with Costco last September to offer outpatient medical care to its members.

In March, Costco missed expectations for second-quarter revenue, hurt by lower gasoline prices impact and soft discretionary spend from consumers.

Big-box retailers such as Amazon and Walmart have been offering healthcare services following the pandemic.

Amazon offers virtual primary care service for Prime members through One Medical, which it bought in 2022.

Walmart runs primary care centers at its stores and its membership warehouse club retail chain, Sam’s Club, sells GLP-1 drugs through its pharmacies.

(Reporting by Juveria Tabassum; Additional reporting by Savyata Mishra; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)