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Mounjaro Maker Is Cracking Down on Patients Taking It for Cosmetic Weight Loss

The company is speaking out about the non-approved use of its medications.

Millions have turned to medication over the past year to lose weight, with four big names dominating the space: Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Zepbound. These drugs have skyrocketed in popularity amid the "Ozempic obsession" in Hollywood, with many celebs admitting to taking them in order to shed pounds quickly. But while manufacturers have largely stayed silent on the non-essential use of their medications, the maker of Mounjaro is now speaking out about patients taking the drug for cosmetic weight loss.

RELATED: Ozempic Competitor Mounjaro Is Becoming Even More Popular—Here's Why.

Eli Lilly is the company behind the tirzepatide medications Mounjaro and Zepbound. Mounjaro was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first in 2022 as a treatment for adults with type 2 diabetes. And in November of last year, the FDA approved Zepbound for chronic weight management in adults with obesity.

In a new commercial released Feb. 23, the Mounjaro maker calls out patients who are taking these medications without meeting the approval requirements from the FDA. The ad, titled "Big Night," was released right before the March 10 Academy Awards, and features shots of things you would see at a Hollywood award ceremony: glittery gold dresses, red carpets, paparazzi, and the curtain rising in a theater.

"Some people have been using medicine never meant for them," a voiceover says. "For the smaller dress or tux. For a big night. For vanity. But that's not the point."

The ad then switches to a scene featuring a woman dressed in ordinary clothes taking public transit.

"People whose health is affected by obesity are the reason we work on these medications," the voiceover continues. "It matters who gets them."

While the commercial doesn't mention Mounjaro or Zepbound by name, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks told CNN that it still works to deliver a message that the company is serious about.

"We have a point of view about how these drugs are being used," Ricks said. "These medicines were invented for people with a serious health condition; they were not invented just to have someone who's famous look a little bit better."

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity affects around 41.9 percent of adults in the U.S.

"This is a disease," Ricks told CNN. "It's a metabolic disorder that, for most people, won't go away without serious medical treatment … So I don't think we're going to make much progress on this topic, that affects 100 million-plus Americans, unless we treat it like a health condition just like we do hypertension or arrhythmia or anything else."

RELATED: Jillian Michaels' Big Ozempic Warning: It Makes You a "Prisoner for Life."

The CEO said that there are three specific reasons why Eli Lilly is cracking down on who gets access to popular weight-loss medications: insurance coverage, shortages, and the type of research that has gone into these drugs.

"We're a long way from being able to supply a billion people with these medications with obesity, let alone the people who may want to lose some weight cosmetically," Ricks told CNN. "So we need to prioritize, and that's what this ad's about, is prioritizing those who need it most."

The company also hasn't tested its weight-management-approved medication on patients who don't fall into one of the categories it is approved for.

"We've only studied it in a population that had overweight or obesity, and we've focused it on people with chronic complications from obesity," he explained. "We can't speak to benefits and risks outside the population, so we think it's only responsible to point the light here, where the drug is most needed."

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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