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Anti-obesity Drugs Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Prescription Drugs and OTC Drugs), By Distribution Channel (Hospital Pharmacy and Retail and Online Pharmacy), and Regional Forecast, 2022-2029

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI104783



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The global anti-obesity drugs market size was valued at USD 1.90 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 2.82 billion in 2022 to USD 13.26 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 24.7% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with anti-obesity drugs experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global anti-obesity drugs market exhibited a decline of -2.3% in 2020 as compared to 2019.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat that increases the risk of other chronic diseases such as insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, hypertension, sleep apnea, diabetes mellitus, arthritis, gall bladder diseases, and certain types of cancers. The significant rise in the prevalence rate of obesity has led to a large patient population suffering from debilitating and chronic conditions that severely affect the patient's daily functioning and have severe implications on their mortality.

According to the 2021 estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 650,000 obesity-associated cancers occur in the U.S. each year, of which more than 200,000 are men and 450,000 are women. Further, it stated that breast cancer is the most common obesity-associated cancer among women, whereas it is colorectal cancer among men. Creating more awareness of the dangers of this chronic disease and the high healthcare expenditure associated with it, especially among the younger generation, will lead to the greater adoption of therapeutics for early and preventive care of the disease. All these factors are anticipated to drive the growth of the market over the forecast period.


How has COVID-19 Slowed the Market Growth?

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively influenced market growth due to the reduction of in-person visits to healthcare professionals, shutdown of non-essential healthcare services, and diversion of resources into pandemic-centric services. Similarly, the increasing usage of telemedicine in place of ‘in-person’ hospital visits and the utilization of online pharmacies to procure repeat medications have minimized the adverse impact on the market.

In addition, pharmaceutical companies are significantly focused on maintaining the balance between supply and demand amid the pandemic, keeping their sales intact.

  • For instance, COVID-19 impacted the revenues of Saxenda (liraglutide), a product of Novo Nordisk A/S, in key countries, such as the U.S., due to a decline in the number of hospital visits. However, it reported a strong sales trend with an incline of almost 15.0% over FY 2020 in Europe and the Middle East & Africa (EMEA) regions. The growth is attributed to the higher adoption of telemedicine and online pharmacies across the regions.

Furthermore, lack of mobility and confinement to one location during lockdowns have further increased the prevalence rate of obesity across the globe.

  • In FY 2021, Novo Nordisk A/S’s obesity care segment generated a revenue of USD 1,335.5 million in 2021, exhibiting a growth of 49.8% from FY 2020.

From 2022 onwards, the market will witness substantial growth prospects due to new product launches, the presence of key pipeline candidates in prominent companies, and a sustained increase in the prevalence of obesity.


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How is Increasing Awareness Regarding Obesity Treatment Creating Growth Opportunities in the Market?

Over the past few decades, the prevalence rate of obesity has significantly increased, and it is now considered an epidemic. Obesity constitutes a severe public health problem, as it substantially increases the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, and certain cancers. This has raised the awareness level among the population regarding severe chronic disease, which can be avoided by following appropriate action plans including the following:

  • At the 2020 Global Obesity Forum, the global obesity community and WHO came together to acknowledge the complexity of this disease and developed the ROOTS approach, which sets out an integrated, equitable, comprehensive, and person-centered approach to address this problem.

Such initiatives made by international organizations and strict implementation will increase awareness regarding disease conditions. Several industry players developing and engaged in launches of effective therapeutics are strategically endorsing their products to tackle the problem.

  • In June 2020, the oral diabetes drug glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors by Pfizer Inc. called PF-06882961 demonstrated that the medication could help control type 2 diabetes and contribute to weight loss as obesity is often tied to type 2 diabetes. These diabetes drugs work by appetite suppression to induce weight loss.


How has Increasing Prevalence of Obesity Propelled the Market Growth?

The prevalence of obesity has radically increased in all regions of the world, but the rate varies significantly by country due to sedentary lifestyle trends and unhealthy diets. Even though there is no direct correlation between obesity rate and the economic status of a country, it has been observed that wealthier countries tend to implement more programs, campaigns, and initiatives to raise awareness and education among people about healthy lifestyles.

  • In March 2022, the WHO published an article stating that more than 1 billion people are obese worldwide, of which 650 million are adults, 340 million adolescents, and 39 million children. Furthermore, WHO estimated that by 2025, approximately 167 million people would be less healthy due to being overweight or obese.

In terms of the impact on society as a whole, it has significant direct and indirect cost implications, which place considerable strain on healthcare and social resources. Some European countries most affected by this “obesity epidemic” include Malta, Hungary, and Lithuania.

  • According to the 2022 Report of the WHO European Region, being overweight and obese affects almost 60.0% of adults, of which 7.9% are children under five years of age. Furthermore, this disease has been identified as a severe global public health challenge and a significant determinant of disability and death in the region.

What does the Current Pipeline of Market Players Mean for the Market during the Forecast Period?

Globally, obesity has reached epidemic proportions, and as per WHO data, at least 2.8 million people are dying each year due to this problem. This increase in the prevalence of obesity will significantly increase the demand for effective therapeutic measures to combat the disease. As the problem of obesity is anticipated to grow over the next few decades, the need for the launch of new anti-obesity drugs in the global market will be greater. This has led several prominent and emerging companies to be engaged in R&D initiatives for the development of anti-obesity drugs to fulfill the demand.

  • In June 2022, Innovent Biologics, Inc. released positive results of a phase 2 clinical trial study for mazdutide (IBI362), a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor dual agonist among Chinese patients with overweight or obesity. Such developments in R&D reflect a great potential for future product launches.


How Will Stringent Drug Approval Policies Limit the Market Growth Prospects?

Despite the increased need for effective anti-obesity drugs, the stringent regulatory scenario is one of the substantial hindrances to market growth. There is considerable difficulty in the regulatory process for the approval of new anti-obesity drugs, which may prevent many established biopharmaceutical companies from investing in this market. Moreover, it also increases their R&D expenses and limits revenue growth, impacting the scope for new product launches and restraining market growth.

  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has issued regulatory approvals for only three drug therapies (orlistat, bupropion/naltrexone, and liraglutide) in contrast to the U.S. FDA’s approval of five drug therapies. For instance, many regulatory bodies utilize a guideline of 5.0% total weight loss to determine whether a drug induces a significant weight loss. Such stringent regulatory requirements significantly hamper the global anti-obesity drugs market growth.


By Type Analysis

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Prescription Drugs Segment Dominates the Market Due to Increasing Adoption of Obesity Management Products

Based on type, the global market is segmented into prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

The prescription drugs segment dominated the global anti-obesity drugs market share with the highest market share in 2021 due to the presence of key market players with regulatory approvals for their products. These companies are driving the adoption of these products by increasing investment in R&D initiatives and strategic partnerships to introduce effective treatments. Furthermore, increasing prescriptions from healthcare professionals are boosting the sales of prescription drugs, resulting in the segment’s dominance in the global market.

The OTC drugs segment is estimated to grow at a lower CAGR due to limited product offerings. Some other factors pertaining to the lower CAGR include personal concerns associated with adverse side effects after the consumption of OTC drugs, restricting the segment’s growth during the forecast period.

By Distribution Channel Analysis

Growing Accessibility for Drugs is Projected to Drive the Retail and Online Pharmacy Segment

Based on distribution channel, the market is classified into hospital pharmacy, retail, and online pharmacy.

The retail and online pharmacy segment is projected to generate the highest revenue in the global market in 2021 due to increasing usage of e-pharmacies platforms and the availability of anti-obesity drugs on these platforms, making drug procurement procedure easier for the patient population. Furthermore, obesity is a chronic condition, and the patient needs a refill to continue the long-term treatment plan leading to greater adoption of anti-obesity drugs through retail and online pharmacy distribution channels.

The hospital pharmacy segment is anticipated to grow with a lower CAGR during the forecast period. Despite the need for a prescription for medicines from trained professionals, the hospital segment is anticipated to witness slower growth due to the presence of alternative distribution channels for the procurement of anti-obesity drugs, which provide treatment at affordable costs and at a convenient time.


North America Anti-obesity Drugs Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)

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Based on region, the global market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

The North America market size was valued at USD 1.24 billion in 2021 and is likely to remain dominant over the forecast period. The growth in this region is attributed to the strong prevalence of obesity across the region and comprises high-income countries with high healthcare expenditure per person. As per a study published by the National Library of Medicine in 2021, the annual medical care costs are high at USD 2,505 for adults with obesity in the U.S. and increase significantly with the class of obesity from 68.4% for class 1 to 233.6% for class 3.

Europe is expected to be the second leading region in terms of revenue, attributable to the presence of strong market players, including Novo Nordisk A/S, across the region with increasing investments in R&D activities for the launch of new products. Moreover, Asia Pacific is estimated to showcase a comparatively higher CAGR due to the rising prevalence of obesity and the comorbidities associated with this condition, as there is a strong relationship between the number of comorbidities and obesity. This is anticipated to surge the adoption of these products.

On the other hand, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are estimated to grow at a comparatively lower CAGR due to lack of well-established healthcare infrastructure compared to other regions. These regions accounted for a smaller market share in 2021 as the healthcare expenditure per person is low and there is limited awareness of these products in these regions. These factors lower the adoption rate of drugs, leading to slower growth in these regions.


Novo Nordisk A/S Dominates the Market Due to Strong Product Portfolio

In terms of the competitive landscape, the market is consolidated, with a few market players holding a major share of the market. Currently, Novo Nordisk A/S holds a peak market position owing to a strong product portfolio and recent product approvals by various regulatory agencies, which support the company's growth. In June 2021, Novo Nordisk A/S received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) approval for Wegovy, which is indicated for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related comorbidities. These factors, coupled with strong product sales across various regions, account for the company’s dominance in the market. GlaxoSmithKline plc is also one of the key players on account of its over-the-counter anti-obesity drug called Alli.

Other prominent players included in the market include Novartis AG, VIVUS LLC., Currax Pharmaceuticals LLC, and others. The strong focus of companies on strategic initiatives and new advanced product launches is fueling the market growth.


  • Novo Nordisk A/S (Denmark)

  • GlaxoSmithKline plc (U.K.)

  • VIVUS LLC. (U.S.)

  • Currax Pharmaceuticals LLC (U.S.)

  • F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd (Switzerland)

  • Pfizer Inc. (U.S.)

  • Sandoz International GmbH (Novartis AG) (Germany)

  • Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH (Germany)


  • February 2022: Pfizer Inc.’s study on oral diabetes medication called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors showed that the medication could help control type 2 diabetes and contribute to weight loss as obesity is often tied to type 2 diabetes.

  • November 2021: Novo Nordisk announced that the European regulatory authority, Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), adopted a positive opinion and recommended the marketing authorization for Wegovy for chronic weight management in adults with obesity.

  • October 2021: Navamedic ASA extended its distribution rights for Mysimba in the Nordics. In 2017, Navamedic ASA secured exclusive distribution rights of Mysimba in the Nordics for five years from Currax Pharmaceutical LLC, previously known as Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc.

  • April 2021: Zealand Pharma A/S and Boehringer Ingelheim initiated Phase 2 trials of the GLP-1/glucagon dual agonist BI 456906 for overweight or obese adults and for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) adults.

  • February 2020: VIVUS, Inc.’s Korean marketing partner launched Qsymia in the Republic of Korea.


An Infographic Representation of Anti-obesity Drugs Market

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The global anti-obesity drugs market research report provides qualitative and quantitative insights on the global market and a detailed analysis of global market size & growth rate for all possible segments in the market. Along with this, the report provides an elaborative analysis of the global market dynamics and competitive landscape. Various key insights presented in the report are the prevalence of obesity – for key countries/regions, new product launches, key recent industry developments – mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships, - pipeline analysis and impact of COVID-19 on the global market.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD billion)


By Type, Distribution Channel, and Region

By Type

  • Prescription Drugs

  • OTC Drugs

By Distribution Channel


  • Hospital Pharmacy

  • Retail and Online Pharmacy

By Geography

  • North America (By Type, By Distribution Channel, By Country)

    • U.S.

    • Canada

  • Europe (By Type, By Distribution Channel, By Country/Sub-Region)

    • Germany

    • U.K.

    • France

    • Italy

    • Spain

    • Scandinavia

    • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific (By Type, By Distribution Channel, By Country/Sub-Region)

    • China

    • Japan

    • India

    • Australia

    • Southeast Asia

    • Rest of Asia Pacific

  • Latin America (By Type, By Distribution Channel, By Country/Sub-Region)

    • Brazil

    • Mexico

    • Rest of Latin America

  • Middle East & Africa (By Type, By Distribution Channel, By Country/Sub-Region)

    • GCC

    • South Africa

    • Rest of Middle East & Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 1.90 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 13.26 billion by 2029.

In 2021, the North America market stood at USD 1.24 billion.

Growing at a CAGR of 24.7%, the market will exhibit steady growth over the forecast period (2022-2029).

The prescription drugs segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

The increasing prevalence of this condition and robust pipeline candidates leading to novel product launches are some of the major driving factors of the global market.

Novo Nordisk A/S, GlaxoSmithKline plc, and Currax Pharmaceuticals LLC are the leading market players.

North America dominated the market in 2021.

Increase in the number of government initiatives, awareness programs by health organizations, and concerns regarding the comorbidities associated with obesity are expected to surge the product demand.

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