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AMA Classifies Obesity as a "Disease;" Obesity Drugs Now Could be Covered

  +Follow June 20, 2013 2:51PM
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BurgerOn Wednesday, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially declared obesity to be a disease. The AMA currently defines obesity as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30. At previous points, the AMA had referred to obesity as a “major health concern,” a “complex disorder,” and an “urgent chronic condition.” But moving obesity classification of “disease” will have several implications. Notably, if obesity is no longer considered merely a lifestyle choice in need of tweaking, insurance companies could be required to cover the cost of weight loss drugs. According to Vivus, approximately 30 percent of insurers cover its obesity drugs. Some providers such as Aetna (AET) and Blue Shield do include coverage for weight loss drugs, but this new definition could cause that number to rise significantly.

This is news that could affect pharamceutical companies such as Arena and Vivus significantly.

Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA)

This San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company could be a major beneficiary of the ADA’s declaration. On June 27,2012 the FDA approved the obesity-reduction drug lorcaserin, which will be marketed by Arena under the name Belviq. Belviq stimulates serotonin so patients feel satiated, and thus more full after meals.

Arena announced last week that after a few delays, they’d finally be rolling out Belviq. Since obesity is now considered a disease, Belviq could be covered under most insurance plans that currently force patients to pay out of pocket for obesity-reduction drugs. Belviq was specifically approved for patients with a BMI over 30, or people with a BMI over 27 who suffer from at least one obesity-related condition like high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, or high cholesterol, which fits neatly into the AMA’s new parameters for defining obesity.

Arena suffered a setback earlier this year when they withdrew the European Union application for Belviq. Their stock opened the day at $7.60 a share on moderate trading, and is down nearly two percent on the day. Their next earnings report is August 7.

Vivus, Inc. (VVUS)

Mountain, California based Vivus beat Arena to the punch in the obesity pharmaceutical battle, rolling out their own drug Qsymia last September. And Qysmia, a combination of phentermine and topiramate, has been shown to produce weight loss more effectively than Belviq. Qysmia is currently also approved by the FDA for patients with a BMI over 30, or over 27 with blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

Qysmia though, has faced sluggish sales despite outperforming Belviq on weight loss effectiveness. Analysts have speculated this might be due to Qysmia’s side effects, which include drowsiness, increased heart rate, and increased chance of birth defects for pregnant women. Belviq has a relatively clean safety profile in comparison.
Vivus opened the day at $14.15 a share and is seeing above-average volume. This is well down from Vivus’ high posted on July 18, 2012 of $31.21 a share. Their next earnings report is August 5.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions.


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Results for ARNA
Dieter Laevers
21 Nov 14 15:25:37
RT @jseguritan: RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX Contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA (Symphony Health data) http://t.co/UtgyLiRnBE #pharma
Stock Rocket
21 Nov 14 15:13:16
Thanks to the 5 pro traders at http://t.co/5jbX6mNKQv for an amazing week! My win rate was 80%. So sweet. $DRYS $MJNA $AKS $ARNA
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21 Nov 14 14:51:30
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Stockaholics
21 Nov 14 14:33:17
578% Gains On Penny Stocks in one month! Plus a New Pick Is Coming: http://t.co/2W3yKD2d5Q $TECD $ARNA $AET
DiabetesMonthReview
21 Nov 14 14:24:24
RT @simonig1: $ARNA Early Weight Loss With Lorcaserin Plus Diet & Exercise Predicts Favorable 1‐Yr Outcomes-> http://t.co/BbBCCRsE9w #Weigh…
carl s
21 Nov 14 14:01:02
RT @simonig1: $ARNA Study: Obesity Fuels Silent Heart Damage-> http://t.co/B3z7n68Vcc #Belviq #Weightloss #Wellness #Healthchat #superfree …
Mark Trader
21 Nov 14 13:42:15
Thank you http://t.co/FOdvsRfk32! Your 5 pro traders are amazing. I would recommend the 14-day trial to anyone. $SONS $HMY $ARNA $SIMH
Ego
21 Nov 14 13:22:28
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA Symphony 11/14 by gravelroad78 Q 9767, B 14708, C total as of 11/21 2600, 8 wks bel had 20,000 after 8wks, $orex, $…
Ego
21 Nov 14 13:22:02
RT @BioTechReturns: $ARNA Belviq Launch per(IMS-Symphony) 1st week(1,087-1,183) 2nd week (1,829-2,162). %Increase (68.3%-82.8%). $OREX is l…
Simon Chouldjian
21 Nov 14 12:48:20
$ARNA Early Weight Loss With Lorcaserin Plus Diet & Exercise Predicts Favorable 1‐Yr Outcomes-> http://t.co/BbBCCRsE9w #Weightloss #Diabetes
biogemfinder
21 Nov 14 12:47:37
$ARNA they are not letting it go higher due to all the options for Jan 2015! Just go look. They want to control so it remains low until Jan
biogemfinder
21 Nov 14 12:45:22
$ARNA so it seems we have left $VVUS behind $OREX will never catch up. Scriptwisw. Symphony 11/14 Q 9767, B 14708, C total as of 11/21 2600
Simon Chouldjian
21 Nov 14 12:31:20
$ARNA Study: Obesity Fuels Silent Heart Damage-> http://t.co/B3z7n68Vcc #Belviq #Weightloss #Wellness #Healthchat #superfree #Fitness #Oprah
Dave
21 Nov 14 11:50:51
I didnt know the pro members get the opening bell alerts from http://t.co/qY5MPlJPrU 1 day early. $MNKD $PWE $CIM $ACI $ARNA $ECA
Stock Rocket
21 Nov 14 11:39:48
Thanks to the 5 pro traders at http://t.co/5jbX6mNKQv for an amazing week! My win rate was 80%. So sweet. $DRYS $MJNA $AKS $ARNA
Diabesity
21 Nov 14 11:39:08
RT @simonig1: $ARNA Obesity:Pathophysiology and Intervention-> http://t.co/6IuDRoIzJH see section 7.2-Lorcaserin (#Belviq) #weightloss #dia…
BioTechDude
21 Nov 14 10:19:24
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA Takeda Pharmaceuticals president quits http://t.co/mKidJ96Jl5 $orex
Shas'el
21 Nov 14 10:00:28
$ARNA Takeda Pharmaceuticals president quits http://t.co/mKidJ96Jl5 $orex
BioTechDude
21 Nov 14 09:42:37
@Shas_el: $ARNA Symphony 11/14 by gravelroad78 Q 9767, B 14708, C total as of 11/21 2600, 8 wks bel had 20,000 after 8wks, $orex, $vvus
Harry Walkman
21 Nov 14 09:32:05
$ARNA Could Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. Be Running Out of Money? http://t.co/gGMfD7cg3o
Shas'el
21 Nov 14 09:14:14
$ARNA Symphony 11/14 by gravelroad78 Q 9767, B 14708, C total as of 11/21 2600, 8 wks bel had 20,000 after 8wks, $orex, $vvus
Greg David
21 Nov 14 09:05:03
I want to give http://t.co/m2LNLuLe8I a shout out. Banked 125% last week thanks to them. You guys rock! $SONS $HMY $ARNA $SIMH
Penny Stock Secret
21 Nov 14 09:03:42
The Most Accurate Penny Stock Alert Service Made $54,000 Yesterday Click here http://t.co/SVqoMlijqL .. $TECD $ARNA $AET
Mark Trader
21 Nov 14 08:50:18
Thank you http://t.co/FOdvsRfk32! Your 5 pro traders are amazing. I would recommend the 14-day trial to anyone. $SONS $HMY $ARNA $SIMH
Sharon Conklin
21 Nov 14 08:45:23
@NDEI $ARNA $OREX $VVUS $NVO Obesity week recap for diabetes education. http://t.co/1oxsCrKT1R
biogemfinder
21 Nov 14 08:19:06
$ARNA even 1M real buys a day will cause huge spikes. The volumes U see R artificial between HF $cumbags to deceive U. $OREX $VVUS $PFE $MRK
biogemfinder
21 Nov 14 08:11:46
After owning shares of $ARNA for last 2-3 years, does anyone here think market is free and fair? Does anyone feel like investing at all?
biogemfinder
21 Nov 14 08:08:27
$OREX up $0.14 $VVUS up $0.20 $ARNA who has the best selling novel & safest drug is up $0.02. When will the hens finally come home to roost?
DailyStockPicks
21 Nov 14 07:52:46
Cynapsus Therapeutics $CYNAF $CTH.V is up 40% this week after Phase 2 Study results. $2.75 target http://t.co/5Vy1M3qBcv $DNDN $ARNA $VVUS
FQ_Toxicity
21 Nov 14 07:43:29
RT @zbiotech: at 8wks into launch $OREX % of TRxs attributed to 'assistance programs' total 27% vs 60% at same point for $ARNA
IPHawk
21 Nov 14 07:43:08
RT @zbiotech: at 8wks into launch $OREX % of TRxs attributed to 'assistance programs' total 27% vs 60% at same point for $ARNA
Matthew Herper
21 Nov 14 07:41:03
RT @zbiotech: at 8wks into launch $OREX % of TRxs attributed to 'assistance programs' total 27% vs 60% at same point for $ARNA
zach
21 Nov 14 07:40:15
at 8wks into launch $OREX % of TRxs attributed to 'assistance programs' total 27% vs 60% at same point for $ARNA
Dan Smithey
21 Nov 14 06:54:09
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
SFOScanner
21 Nov 14 06:37:35
Is it too early to look at Jan 16 calls? Here some stocks with incredibly expensive options $WPRT $HALO $RNA $EMES $MNKD $ARNA $NVAX
BioTechDude
21 Nov 14 06:35:47
@jseguritan @zbiotech STUNNER - 8 weeks in $ARNA had 22,000 scripts vs approximately 5,300 for $OREX #launchfail
Shas'el
21 Nov 14 06:33:09
RT @SharonAConklin: @zbiotech Wow, 8 weeks in $ARNA had 22,000 scripts vs approximately 5,300 for $OREX and Belviq was considered an untru…
Shas'el
21 Nov 14 06:33:07
RT @BioTechReturns: .@SharonAConklin @zbiotech - it's crazy that $OREX has 3.5xs more reps than $ARNA had out of gate, and are getting clo…
BioTechDude
21 Nov 14 06:32:13
.@SharonAConklin @zbiotech - it's crazy that $OREX has 3.5xs more reps than $ARNA had out of gate, and are getting clobbered #launchfail
DiabetesMonthReview
21 Nov 14 06:30:31
RT @SharonAConklin: @zbiotech Wow, 8 weeks in $ARNA had 22,000 scripts vs approximately 5,300 for $OREX and Belviq was considered an untru…
Sharon Conklin
21 Nov 14 06:26:01
@zbiotech Wow, 8 weeks in $ARNA had 22,000 scripts vs approximately 5,300 for $OREX and Belviq was considered an untrusted NCE.
Joey Sales
21 Nov 14 06:25:22
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
IPHawk
21 Nov 14 06:23:07
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
Jeffrey Seguritan
21 Nov 14 06:11:27
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX Contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA (Symphony Health data) http://t.co/UtgyLiRnBE #pharma
BioRunUp
21 Nov 14 06:08:17
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
V.S. Schulz
21 Nov 14 05:25:22
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
Julia Skripka-Serry
21 Nov 14 05:23:47
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
Denis Kyle Guenette
21 Nov 14 05:17:43
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
dougheuring
21 Nov 14 05:16:35
RT @zbiotech: fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
zach
21 Nov 14 05:14:58
fwiw $OREX symphony health contrave NRx and mkt share vs $VVUS $ARNA http://t.co/1EFf0JCWP7
				
				
  +Follow June 20, 2013 2:51PM
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