Med Spas Are Playing With Fire – Don’t Get Greedy!

Med Spas Are Playing With Fire – Don’t Get Greedy!

Nov. 17, 2023

It’s no secret that the medical spas industry is booming, tripling in size (revenues) since 2012 and forecast to grow nearly 10% per year through 2027 (see Marketdata’s new report: “The U.S. Medical Spas Industry”, Nov. 2023). It’s also no secret that many spas are adding other services to expand their offerings. One of those new services is providing weight loss plans that involve the use of Semaglutide, the ingredient in the wildly popular obesity drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy (GLP-1 drugs).

Yes, weight loss is related to cosmetic improvement and we can see why med spa owners would want to offer weight loss solutions to their customers. However, what is important to realize is that using these drugs is a MEDICAL option that carries potential liability. These are prescription drugs, not OTC supplements or retail meal replacements. In addition, there may be side effects that customers experience, and/or complications. Monitoring of patients, ideally by an MD, PA or Nurse Practitioner is important and necessary.

Let’s be frank. Most med spas and their staff know nothing or very little about weight loss, let alone prescription obesity drugs. This is NOT their field, and they are in no position to deal with medical complications or side effects. Med spas are just jumping on the Ozempic bandwagon, tempted by the profits and quick potential revenues. But, they are not thinking about the potential negatives.

Med Spa staff is not competent in weight loss coaching, meal planning, exercise, psychological issues that weight loss customers deal with, etc. Weight loss is complicated, especially MEDICAL weight loss. It’s more than taking a pill or injection.

And, there ARE some major risks here. These Semaglutide drugs are expensive, $1,000 to $1,300 per month if not covered by insurance. Most claims for insurance coverage are denied (about 65% of the time). To get around this affordability issue, many MDs and med spas are using compounding pharmacies, which mix the Semaglutide with other ingredients to produce a cheaper version of the drug, for perhaps $300 per month. The problem is that these custom made drugs are NOT approved by the FDA. Dosages and quality can very significantly, or not produce the same effects or results. Not all compounding pharmacies do a good job. They may use poor quality or imported materials.

That’s why the maker of Semaglude, Novo Nordisk (large Danish pharmaceutical firm) is pursuing legal action against: 1) compounding pharmacies, 2) MDs, and 3) med spas using these compounded drugs. Do you really want a group of high-powered attorneys from Novo knocking on your med spa door?  They have a lot more money than you do.

Consequently, if a med spa is using these drugs in their weight loss program, they are opening themselves up to significant risks:

  1. legal action from Novo Nordisk
  2. potential side effects or worse from poorly made compounded drugs
  3. long-term negative perception of the med spa by customers, if Semaglutide is taken off the market

The med spas industry is booming WITHOUT revenues from weight loss programs involving drugs — broader acceptance by Baby Boomers and Millennials, improved laser equipment, more men using med spas, private equity investment, etc. Why risk it all, because you want o jump on the Semaglutide bandwagon for a few extra dollars? DON’T GET GREEDY!

Alternative: If you really want to get into weight loss, offer a safe, non-medical program without obesity drugs (i.e. meal replacements, shakes, nutrition bars, company branded low-calorie foods, coaching support) and invest the time to learn about the weight loss market, so you can offer a program to customers over the long term — without risks.

There have been many obesity drugs that were taken off the market after a few years when nasty side effects and damage were later discovered. It’s too early to tell if Semaglutiude will be anther case.

Note: If there’s one thing Marketdata knows, it’s the weight loss market. We’ve been tracking and analyzing it for 34 years since 1989, with 50+ published, in-depth market research reports, consulting, interviews, presentations, articles and more. See for details on our latest report: “The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market”, March 2023, 400+ pages.