Walmart sees effect of diabetes drug

This photograph taken on February 23, 2023, in Paris, shows the anti-diabetic medication "Ozempic" (semaglutide) made by Danish pharmaceutical company "Novo Nordisk". On TikTok, the hashtag "#Ozempic" has reached more than 500 million views: this anti-diabetic medication is trending on the social network for its' slimming properties, a phenomenon that is causing supply shortages and worrying doctors. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
This photograph taken on February 23, 2023, in Paris, shows the anti-diabetic medication "Ozempic" (semaglutide) made by Danish pharmaceutical company "Novo Nordisk". On TikTok, the hashtag "#Ozempic" has reached more than 500 million views: this anti-diabetic medication is trending on the social network for its' slimming properties, a phenomenon that is causing supply shortages and worrying doctors. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Walmart Inc. says it's already seeing an effect on shopping demand from people taking the diabetes drug Ozempic, Wegovy and other appetite-suppressing medications.

"We definitely do see a slight change compared to the total population, we do see a slight pullback," John Furner, the chief executive officer of Walmart's sprawling U.S. operation, said in an interview Wednesday. "Just less units, slightly less calories."

Walmart is studying changes in sales patterns using anonymized data on shopper populations. It can look at the purchasing changes among people taking the drug and can also compare those habits to similar people who aren't taking the shots. Furner said it's too early to draw any definitive conclusions about the appetite-suppressing drugs made by Novo Nordisk A/S, and similar medicines.

An increasing number of chief executives and investors are talking about how popular weight-loss drugs might change the economy and business. Earlier this week, the CEO of the maker of Pringles and Cheez-Its said the company is studying their potential effect on dietary behaviors.