Popular weight-loss medications Wegovy and Saxenda are somehow both everywhere and nowhere. 

It’s nearly impossible to avoid the headlines about these injectables, part of a class of medication known as GLP-1 agonists that were originally intended to treat type 2 diabetes or severe obesity. The media has detailed which celebrities might be taking them and even how they’re upending the diet industry.

But at the same time, actually accessing these medications has become a challenge, thanks to national shortages. And that’s what flagged the attention of our team at Infinitus.

Well aware of the significant amount of time and resources healthcare calls can take – and of the staffing shortages affecting the industry – Infinitus saw the potential for an automated way to check for inventory of high-demand drugs. So we got to work.

In October, a small team of engineers dedicated a few weeks to building an AI tool to collect data on the availability of these popular medications in the US. And in a matter of weeks, the Infinitus team created a new capability for the Infinitus digital assistant: calling pharmacies across the U.S. at scale to determine whether drugs – especially those experiencing shortages – are in stock. 

Using AI, the digital assistant knew which numbers to call, how to navigate pharmacies’ IVR, how to engage in live conversations with pharmacists, and collect the appropriate data. The Infinitus team set the assistant up to call 4,000 pharmacies across the country on its own over a 24-hour period.

What they found was surprising.

At the time the calls were made in late October, starter doses of both medications were completely unavailable due to high demand. Subsequent doses, which are of a higher concentration were available – at some locations. 

North Dakota had the highest availability of these medications, as approximately 25% of pharmacies reported they were in stock. States including New York, Louisiana, Colorado, and Connecticut reported zero or almost zero stock of Wegovy or Saxenda.

While the Infinitus digital assistant only made one round of calls, these calls could be repeated at any time and at any frequency, allowing providers to continuously check on stock of high-demand medications without wasting time waiting on hold or being transferred from department to department. And the capability isn’t limited to weight-loss medications; it could be used for any type of treatment.

The Infinitus digital assistant, powered by AI, already conducts benefit verifications and prior authorization follow-up calls on behalf of healthcare providers across the country. This new capability complements these existing offerings, helping ensure that once a patient is approved for a medication they are able to access it. 

For more information on how Infinitus is automating calls to pharmacies nationwide, and whether we might be able to assist you with your specific needs, see our breakdown of pharmacy automation offerings.