WeightWatchers Members Aren’t Happy With Company’s Pivot to Ozempic

  • In March, WeightWatchers announced it would acquire telemedicine startup Sequence.
  • Sequence offers access to weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.
  • Analysts say the move could save the company, but some WeightWatchers members aren’t happy.

WeightWatchers is moving away from the group support meetings the company is known for, pivoting instead to using obesity medications for weight loss.

WW International Inc. recently shuttered thousands of in-person meeting locations and inked a deal to acquire telemedicine startup Sequence for more than $1oo million. The two-year-old company sells GLP-1s — better known by their brand names Ozempic and Wegovy — which can lead to dramatic weight loss.

Although the medication has gained popularity online and among celebrities, veteran WeightWatchers members aren’t all happy with the company’s pivot.

“WeightWatchers has kicked us to the curb,” one 15-year member told Bloomberg.

Some WeightWatchers members expressed concern that the company was abandoning its message of self-restraint for the easy solution of weight-loss medication.

“They’re not practicing what they preached … and now all of a sudden there’s a drug involved,” one member said during an April meeting.

Despite criticism from current WeightWatchers members who have remained loyal to the program for decades, Goldman Sachs analysts predict that the move toward weight-loss drugs could save the 60-year-old company from financial collapse. Analysts estimate that the company could generate $455 million in new revenue through an extra half million subscribers by 2025.

WeightWatchers has struggled in recent years to retain subscribers to its nutrition and diet program. Sequence, meanwhile, prescribes weight-loss medications like Ozempic and Wegovy and helps patients afford the drugs through insurance and reimbursements. Before its acquisition, Sequence offered its services for $99 a month.

WeightWatchers CEO Sima Sistani has said the move is a way to revive the company, along with its competitors like Jenny Craig, begin to falter.

As these medications become more popular, the desire for more access to them is placing pressure on companies, insurers, and government programs. Employers are even beginning to crack down on covering the drugs in their health plans.

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