The doctor prescribed a medicine for obesity. The insurance company called it “Vanity.”


“Access to medications to treat obesity is unfortunate in this country,” said Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, an obesity medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Even if a patient’s insurance company covers weight-loss drugs, most doctors don’t suggest medications and most patients don’t order them, said Dr. Scott Kahan, M.D., because they fail to realize that there are good treatment options. Washington, D.C. Even if doctors and patients know there are FDA-approved medications, many believe they are “unsafe or not well-studied and that everyone regains weight,” he added.

Dr. Stanford said the medical system bears much of the blame. Just 1 percent of doctors In the United States are trained in obesity medicine. “It’s the biggest chronic disease of our time, and nobody learns anything about it,” she said.

Data on patients’ use of medication goes back to before the newer, more effective and safer drugs produced by Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly. However, bariatricians say they suspect the number has changed much from previous studies that found it less than 1 percent Those who qualify have been given one of these medications. this is about same ratio Like those undergoing bariatric surgery, which is paid for by most insurance companies, including Medicare.

“The visualization is, ‘If you’re heavy, pull yourself out of your shoes and try harder,'” Dr. Kahan said.

He adds that this is a perception shared by many patients as well as doctors, which makes them reluctant to seek medical help or prescribed medications.