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Weight loss drug could tank junk food stocks – Bloomberg

The popularity of Ozempic is bad news for McDonald’s, a British bank told investors

British bank Barclays is urging investors to short stocks in junk food retailers like McDonald’s and Pepsi due to the surging popularity of weight loss drugs such as Ozempic. Endorsed by celebrities, Ozempic has already made its manufacturer the most valuable company in the EU.

In a note to investors on Tuesday, Barclays strategist Jigar Patel warned that the share price of firms such as McDonald’s Corp., PepsiCo Inc., and Altria Group Inc, the last of which owns multiple cigarette brands, may be set to take a dive.

Pharmaceuticals known as GLP-1 agonists may be responsible for this, Patel noted, according to a report by Bloomberg. GLP-1 agonists are used in the treatment of diabetes and can aid weight loss by slowing digestion and boosting the body’s consumption of its own fat reserves.


Anecdotal evidence also suggests that these drugs reduce cravings for addictive substances such as alcohol and nicotine.

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FILE PHOTO. The logo of Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.
Weight-loss drugs probed over ‘suicidal thoughts’

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has been developing these drugs for more than a decade, and markets them under the names Ozempic and Wegovy. Novo Nordisk’s share value has more than tripled since 2020, pushing the company’s market capitalization above Denmark’s entire GDP and briefly dethroning French luxury conglomerate LVMH as the EU’s most valuable company.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk credited Wegovy as making him feel “fit, ripped, and healthy” last year, while the drug has been endorsed by a host of Hollywood actors. 


“The impacts of GLP-1s potentially introduce disruption into a number of industries,” Patel wrote, with Bloomberg noting that an index of packaged food companies on the S&P 500 has fallen 14% this year, even as the entire S&P has risen by around 10%. 

However, Patel advised investors that some firms will benefit from the weight loss craze, including CVS Health Corp., which owns the CVS pharmacy chain and Aetna health insurance company.

While strong sales and a rash of good publicity has made Novo Nordisk extremely wealthy, European regulators are currently probing Ozempic and Wegovy over reports that they cause suicidal thoughts and self-harm among some users. A weight loss drug marketed by French pharma giant Sanofi failed to win approval in the US and was withdrawn from the European market in 2008 after triggering similar symptoms in users. 

October 05, 2023 at 09:45PM


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