Funding your weight loss treatment
Measuring stomach  

Whether you’ve decided upon your weight loss treatment or you’re still browsing the market, the question you might be asking is how you’ll pay for your treatment – is it funded by the NHS? Do you have to pay privately? What about if you have insurance?

In this guide we’ll list all of the weight loss treatments available, explain the differences between Wegovy, Mounjaro and Saxenda, and discuss all of the potential payment options available to you.

Choosing your weight loss treatment isn’t something to be taken lightly. That's why it’s important to learn about funding your weight loss treatment to ensure it’s not only right for you and your lifestyle, but that the cost is, too!

Types of weight loss treatments

You may have tried fat binders or over-the-counter medicines like orlistat[1], otherwise known by its brand names Alli and Orlos. If these haven’t worked for you, prescription-only medicines can help with your weight loss, including prescription-strength orlistat (Xenical) and Mysimba.

Additionally, one of the most effective types of prescription-only medicines for weight loss include a type of drug called GLP-1 receptor agonists. In simpler terms, the three active ingredients are liraglutide (Saxenda), semaglutide (Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro).

They work by affecting your blood glucose levels, making you feel fuller for longer and suppressing your appetite. In turn, this can make a big difference to your relationship with food, ultimately enabling you to lose weight.

Wegovy

How much will Wegovy cost in the UK?

Wegovy – you know what it is and how it works, but how much does it cost? If you think Wegovy is the right weight loss treatment for you, read on to discover the potential payment options.

If you decide to opt for a private prescription with ourselves, the price of Wegovy starts at £169 for the first three strengths, which are: 0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1mg. As your titration path increases, the 1.7mg pen costs £224, and the 2.4mg, £269.

You need one pen per month, so you can expect a monthly cost of treatment to range between £169 - £269, depending on the dosage strength and where you are on your treatment plan. 

Most patients settle on the highest dose of Wegovy (2.4mg) for their maintenance dose, which would be a monthly cost of £269.

Getting Wegovy on the NHS

NICE approved Wegovy as a suitable treatment for weight loss in February 2022[2], and was launched in the UK in September 2023.

To access Wegovy through the NHS, adults who meet certain criteria would require a referral to a specialised weight management service. Typically, this referral would be done by a GP. 

Individuals are deemed eligible for treatment within this specialised service if they have:

  • At least one weight-related condition, such as hypertension or cardiovascular disease
  • A BMI of 35 or higher, or a BMI of 30 to 34.9
  • An unsuccessful response to conventional treatments

If you’re interested in using Wegovy to lose weight, you should speak to your GP for advice.

Buying Wegovy privately

Like Saxenda and Mounjaro, some patients are able to buy Wegovy privately by heading to our clinic. By completing a consultation about your health and your family’s medical history, one of our prescribing pharmacists can see if Wegovy is the right weight loss treatment for you.

Insurance options

If you have private health insurance, you may be wondering if you’re able to access weight loss treatments, such as Wegovy, through your insurer. You may have to meet a certain criteria or they may not offer Wegovy as an option for weight loss. As every insurer is different, we’d recommend you speak to your insurer for advice.

Weight loss injections

Mounjaro

How much does Mounjaro cost in the UK?

Mounjaro is the newest weight loss injectable to hit the market, but how does the price compare to similar treatments like Wegovy and Saxenda?

When you increase the strength of your Mounjaro dose, the price will increase, too. All patients will begin on the lowest dose of 2.5mg, and for a private prescription with us, the price begins at £179 for one pen, which will last you the entire month.

As you titrate higher, the 5mg pen is £189, 7.5mg and 10mg is £199, and the 12.5mg and 15mg pens are £210 each. Not all patients will need the highest dose; in fact, the majority of patients stick to a 5mg, 10mg or 15mg sustaining dose, and it can all depend on how well you tolerate the medicine and how much weight you’ve lost.

This means that after your first month, you can expect the monthly cost of your Mounjaro treatment to range between £189 - £210. When we compare this to Saxenda and Wegovy, Mounjaro is the cheaper option.

Getting Mounjaro on the NHS

Accessing Mounjaro on the NHS remains limited. Although it has been approved for weight loss, it's only available to individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes on the NHS at the time of writing. 

Consequently, if you don't have type 2 diabetes and you’re interested in Mounjaro for weight loss, you would need to get a private prescription.

Buying Mounjaro privately

Mounjaro can be prescribed, but it's only suitable for certain people. If you're interested, you can buy Mounjaro privately at our clinic. Through a consultation covering your health and family medical background, our prescribing pharmacists will assess if Mounjaro is the right weight loss treatment for you.

Saxenda

How much does Saxenda cost in the UK?

Thinking of choosing Saxenda to help with your weight loss journey? If you think Saxenda is right for your lifestyle and your body, you should acquaint yourself with the potential payment options.

For a private prescription with ourselves, one pen of Saxenda is £75, two pens is £150, three pens is £225 and five pens is £375. When you start using Saxenda, one pen typically lasts about 2 weeks. When you increase the dose to 3mg per day, each pen will last around 6 days. Depending on your dosage, one pen can last between 6 to 17 days.

Once you reach the regular dose of 3mg per day, a pen should last for 6 days. So, 5 pens should cover a month's supply at this dose, or 30 days. This means that you’re looking at a cost of around £375 per month for your Saxenda treatment with us.

It’s important to note that in the future, the manufacturer of Saxenda intends to discontinue this treatment and suggest Wegovy as an alternative. Wegovy has several advantages for weight loss patients, such as weekly injections and more significant weight loss on average during treatment. 

If you're thinking about starting medical weight loss treatment, you might want to think about whether Wegovy would be the better option for you in the long run.

Getting Saxenda on the NHS

Saxenda is available on the NHS for free in some circumstances. It’s offered to patients through NHS weight management services[3], such as the tier 3 obesity service[4]. There are, however, certain conditions you have to meet to get Saxenda on prescription:

  • You have to have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35, or 32.5 for some ethnic groups
  • You’re at risk of type 2 diabetes, otherwise known as prediabetes
  • You’re at a high risk of developing a stroke or a heart attack due to high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure

If you think you’re eligible to be prescribed Saxenda on the NHS, you should speak to your GP for advice.

Buying Saxenda privately

Saxenda is available on prescription, and it’s only suitable for certain people. Don’t worry, you can buy Saxenda privately by heading to our clinic. By completing a consultation about your health and your family’s medical history, one of our prescribing pharmacists can see if Saxenda is the right weight loss treatment for you. 

   

What’s the difference between Wegovy, Saxenda and Mounjaro?

Although Wegovy, Saxenda and Mounjaro share many similarities–such as how they work within the body to encourage weight loss–there are some key differences, too. They contain different active ingredients, liraglutide for Saxenda, semaglutide for Wegovy and tirzepatide for Mounjaro. 

Compared to Saxenda, Wegovy and Mounjaro are longer lasting, meaning you’ll only have to inject once per week instead of daily. This is because semaglutide and tirzepatide stay in the body for seven days, whereas liraglutide stays in the body for only twenty-four hours.

Semaglutide, liraglutide and tirzepatide are used to treat type 2 diabetes in addition to weight loss. For the treatment of diabetes, semaglutide is known by the brand name Ozempic, liraglutide is known by Victoza and tirzepatide is known by Mounjaro (the same as weight loss). The dosage for weight loss and diabetes differ, which we’ll explain below.

Dosage for weight loss vs diabetes

The Wegovy injection for weight loss consists of pre-filled pens delivering doses of 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1.7mg or 2.4mg. These doses are slowly increased until you’ve reached a dose of 2.4mg weekly.

While the Ozempic injection for type 2 diabetes can range from a 2mg single-patient-use pen delivering a dose of 0.25mg or 0.5mg, or 1mg per injection. The other is a 4mg single-patient-use pen delivering 1mg per injection. The dose is slowly increased to a maximum of 1mg weekly.

Mounjaro for both type 2 diabetes and weight loss starts with 2.5 mg once a week, then increases to 5 mg after 4 weeks. If more control is needed, the dose can increase by 2.5 mg increments every 4 weeks. The max dose is 15 mg once weekly. You can change the weekly day, just keep 3 days between doses.

The doses of Victoza can range from 0.6mg, 1.2mg or 1.8mg in a single-patient-use injection. Saxenda is prescribed at a higher dosage that will gradually be increased over the course of your treatment. The recommended dosage for Saxenda is 3mg per day.

Orlistat and Xenical

What’s the cost difference between prescription and over-the-counter orlistat?

The weight loss brands Alli and Orlos contain the active ingredient orlistat, which you’re able to get over-the-counter. This will be at a lower dosage (60mg) than Xenical, the branded version of prescription-only orlistat, which is at a higher dosage (120mg).

You’re able to get over-the-counter orlistat (Alli and Orlos) from us today, starting from £22.29. If we compare this to prescription-only orlistat (Xenical), prices start from £34.99, but not everyone will be eligible to take the higher dose. 

Top tip: look for the generic version of prescription-strength orlistat, as it doesn’t come with the premium brand cost. Here, prices start from £32.99.

Getting orlistat on the NHS

No, orlistat is not available on the NHS. To get orlistat, you need a prescription from your GP or a private prescription. Alternatively, you can get lower-strength orlistat over-the-counter from most pharmacies - including us!

Buying orlistat privately

One of the best ways to get orlistat is by going private. By having a weight loss consultation with us, if you’re eligible, you’re able to buy low or high dose orlistat. 

This saves time as you won’t need to make an appointment with your GP or wait around for a prescription – it’s quick, easy, and you’ll know if you qualify for orlistat in just a few minutes.

Mysimba

How much does Mysimba cost?

The cost of Mysimba starts from £104.99 for 112 tablets, increasing to £209.99 for 224 tablets. With Mysimba, you’ll start by taking one tablet each day. After each week, you’ll take one more tablet, until you’re taking four tablets per day from week four onwards. This is something you should bear in mind, as you may need to purchase more.

Getting Mysimba on the NHS

No, Mysimba is not available on the NHS. If you’re interested in taking Mysimba for weight loss, you would need to get a private prescription. The bad news is that it comes at a cost, as we mentioned above. But the good news is that if you meet the correct criteria, a weight loss consultation with us only takes a few minutes.

Buying Mysimba privately

Buying Mysimba privately is the only option, unfortunately! A while back, there was an appeal to push for NHS funding for Mysimba as a way to encourage weight loss in overweight adults, but it was unsuccessful[5].

  Woman exercising  

We know that cost can be a big factor when choosing your weight loss treatment, but we hope this guide has helped you understand the different routes you can consider.

If you feel that a weight loss treatment is the right option for you, the next step will be a consultation with one of our prescribing pharmacists to see if you’re suitable to start treatment, or of course, you can speak to your GP to see if you fit the criteria to be referred to a weight management service.

Alexandra Moses - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 13 May 2024
© 2024 Chemist4U. Innox Trading Ltd, 35-37 Greenhey Place, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, WN8 9SA, GB. All rights reserved. Registered and regulated UK pharmacy with the GPhC (registered premises 9011784). Registered in England No. 07262043 | VAT Registration No. GB140138454