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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.

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Results for ARNA
carl s
30 Jul 15 19:58:05
RT @simonig1: $ARNA Safety and Efficacy of APD334 in Patients With Ulcerative Colitis-> This phase 2 study is currently recruiting http://t…
Michael Cook
30 Jul 15 17:30:25
Our Stock Alerts Gained Over 550% This Month Already! See Our Huge New Pick Coming This Week: http://t.co/abs4Q0eCx9 $TECD $ARNA $AET
Michael James
30 Jul 15 17:29:22
After A MASSIVE 525% Gain On $GEQU, We Have A New Pick Ready! Special Update: http://t.co/wFGuoX67mX $TECD $ARNA $AET
Paul Henry
30 Jul 15 17:27:17
Our Penny Stock Picks Have Gained 3,600% In 10 Months! Get Early Access To Our Next Pick: http://t.co/xXdYdpiHOc $TECD $ARNA $AET
Independent Minds
30 Jul 15 16:08:41
@adamfeuerstein you forgot to add $VVUS with $ARNA $AMRN, remember the one you were pumping when it was over $20.
Lance Brofman
30 Jul 15 15:47:01
Commented on: "Arena's Phase 2 Trial An Opportunity For Improved Valuation" http://t.co/yoWKOd4sj0 $ARNA
Shas'el
30 Jul 15 13:20:26
RT @simonig1: $ARNA Safety and Efficacy of APD334 in Patients With Ulcerative Colitis-> This phase 2 study is currently recruiting http://t…
Simon Chouldjian
30 Jul 15 13:12:14
$ARNA Safety and Efficacy of APD334 in Patients With Ulcerative Colitis-> This phase 2 study is currently recruiting http://t.co/RsJcBtmxcK
K Caudy
30 Jul 15 12:54:12
RT @biogemfinder: Both $ARNA & $SQNM have earnings call on the same day Aug 5. I hope at least one or both pop after the call. Otherwise I …
biogemfinder
30 Jul 15 12:37:03
Both $ARNA & $SQNM have earnings call on the same day Aug 5. I hope at least one or both pop after the call. Otherwise I am out for a while!
Shas'el
30 Jul 15 11:48:45
RT @Eyebethere: Funny how the blogger is quick to criticize companies that have accomplished more than the blogger ever will in 100 lifetim…
EyeBeThere
30 Jul 15 11:25:20
Funny how the blogger is quick to criticize companies that have accomplished more than the blogger ever will in 100 lifetimes. $ARNA, $MNKD
biogemfinder
30 Jul 15 11:16:53
$ARNA is f'd up as usual No support at all This has been the most frustrating stock that Ive ever owned ever! When will this stop! $XBI $IBB
EyeBeThere
30 Jul 15 10:55:47
RT @SharonAConklin: $ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals now recruiting Ulcerative Colitis Phase 2 trial of APD334 https://t.co/4CX6TevwLX
EyeBeThere
30 Jul 15 10:52:14
RT @biogemfinder: $ARNA needs to work on partnerships for the pipeline & perhaps a new bigger player to sell Belviq for wt loss & smoking c…
Michael Cook
30 Jul 15 10:49:56
Our Stock Alerts Gained Over 550% This Month Already! See Our Huge New Pick Coming This Week: http://t.co/abs4Q0wdoH $TECD $ARNA $AET
Michael James
30 Jul 15 10:45:29
After A MASSIVE 525% Gain On $GEQU, We Have A New Pick Ready! Special Update: http://t.co/wFGuoX67mX $TECD $ARNA $AET
Paul Henry
30 Jul 15 10:44:32
Our Penny Stock Picks Have Gained 3,600% In 10 Months! Get Early Access To Our Next Pick: http://t.co/xXdYdpiHOc $TECD $ARNA $AET
biogemfinder
30 Jul 15 10:42:37
$ARNA Arena Pharma to Host 2Q 2015 Financial Results Corporate Update Conference Call and Webcast on Wed, August 5 http://t.co/6TkRLCPEGZ"
biogemfinder
30 Jul 15 10:41:33
$ARNA needs to work on partnerships for the pipeline & perhaps a new bigger player to sell Belviq for wt loss & smoking cessation $XBI $IBB
Sweet Platform
30 Jul 15 09:34:26
ARNA Top news - Jul 30th, 2015 $ARNA http://t.co/j5MB7tueTG
emel.aksoy47
30 Jul 15 09:22:26
RT @adamfeuerstein: I’ve said this before, but it is remarkable how $MNKD is like watching a frame-by-frame replay of $ARNA and $AMRN.
Shas'el
30 Jul 15 08:52:21
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Hold” from Brokerages (NASDAQ:ARNA) http://t.co/9ibxDeTzR1
Ticker Report
30 Jul 15 08:41:29
Arena Pharmaceuticals Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Hold” from Brokerages $ARNA http://t.co/s1TuMOXaWV
Jones Allen
30 Jul 15 08:30:35
@jonesallen234 $ZFGN unlike the LDL lowering drugs $ESPR $REGN $AMGN FDA very accommodative toward weight loss drugs $ARNA $VVUS $OREX
Michael Cook
30 Jul 15 07:42:31
Our Stock Alerts Gained Over 550% This Month Already! See Our Huge New Pick Coming This Week: http://t.co/abs4Q0wdoH $TECD $ARNA $AET
Michael James
30 Jul 15 07:38:15
After A MASSIVE 525% Gain On $GEQU, We Have A New Pick Ready! Special Update: http://t.co/wFGuoX67mX $TECD $ARNA $AET
Paul Henry
30 Jul 15 07:35:22
Our Penny Stock Picks Have Gained 3,600% In 10 Months! Get Early Access To Our Next Pick: http://t.co/xXdYdpAiFK $TECD $ARNA $AET
Larry Husten
30 Jul 15 07:29:23
RT @adamfeuerstein: I’ve said this before, but it is remarkable how $MNKD is like watching a frame-by-frame replay of $ARNA and $AMRN.
Dan McMurtrie
30 Jul 15 07:16:53
RT @adamfeuerstein: I’ve said this before, but it is remarkable how $MNKD is like watching a frame-by-frame replay of $ARNA and $AMRN.
Adam Feuerstein
30 Jul 15 07:13:39
I’ve said this before, but it is remarkable how $MNKD is like watching a frame-by-frame replay of $ARNA and $AMRN.
wsnewspublishers
30 Jul 15 07:13:28
Active Stocks in the News: http://t.co/KXKLjKLI0Z $ORI $ARNA $PRGO $APD
Sharon Conklin
30 Jul 15 07:08:12
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals now recruiting Ulcerative Colitis Phase 2 trial of APD334 https://t.co/4CX6TevwLX
Alexander Morris
30 Jul 15 07:05:04
$ARNA: Waterfall-:1 [-5%,.5%offLo], News[Earn], 14NearLo, FltBO-, 32:4Accel-, allTFs-; TLM:1.2, 3MoLo-, DyVol:523T:0.3x:0.2x,
Shas'el
30 Jul 15 06:12:31
$ARNA Arena Pharma to Host 2Q 2015 Financial Results Corporate Update Conference Call and Webcast on Wed, August 5 http://t.co/8RsmI6FXKJ
ANotsoRandomWalk
30 Jul 15 06:04:11
RT @dougheuringaria: RBC $ARNA inches further into the hot-as-of-late S1P1 space with APD334 oral agent, starting a Phase II trial in UC ht…
MyAllies Trading
30 Jul 15 05:51:42
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals to Host Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results and Corporate Update Conference Call... http://t.co/GMy87emIul
zach
30 Jul 15 05:20:42
mute and/or block will come in handy all day today $MNKD $ARNA
zach
30 Jul 15 05:08:19
for perspective, it took eisai and $ARNA ~1.5yrs before belviq sales hit similar level as takeda and $OREX contrave http://t.co/nnMEMaCzEJ
$Stocknewsalerts
30 Jul 15 05:04:51
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals to Host Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results and Corporate Update Conference Cal From our Stock News Alerts App
StockNews
30 Jul 15 05:03:05
$ARNA - Arena Pharmaceuticals to Host Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results and Corporate Update Conference http://t.co/PbC1nFtkhP
Dakota Financial
30 Jul 15 04:54:40
Arena Pharmaceuticals Upgraded to Hold at Zacks $ARNA http://t.co/Uc2xzmovyX
Stock Rocket
30 Jul 15 04:25:50
Intersting article about a new stock pick site. http://t.co/nU3hf3Cf56. Related: $SGYP $SID $DMHI $ARNA $FREE $ZGNX
Michael Cook
29 Jul 15 22:44:51
Our Stock Alerts Gained Over 550% This Month Already! See Our Huge New Pick Coming This Week: http://t.co/abs4Q0eCx9 $TECD $ARNA $AET
Paul Henry
29 Jul 15 22:42:19
Our Penny Stock Picks Have Gained 3,600% In 10 Months! Get Early Access To Our Next Pick: http://t.co/xXdYdpiHOc $TECD $ARNA $AET
Michael James
29 Jul 15 22:40:57
After A MASSIVE 525% Gain On $GEQU, We Have A New Pick Ready! Special Update: http://t.co/wFGuoX67mX $TECD $ARNA $AET
carl s
29 Jul 15 20:09:03
RT @dougheuringaria: RBC $ARNA inches further into the hot-as-of-late S1P1 space with APD334 oral agent, starting a Phase II trial in UC ht…
carl s
29 Jul 15 20:08:46
RT @biogemfinder: $ARNA needs to work on partnerships for the pipeline & perhaps a new bigger player to sell Belviq for wt loss & smoking c…
carl s
29 Jul 15 20:08:41
RT @SeekingAlpha: Arena's Phase 2 Trial An Opportunity For Improved Valuation http://t.co/sjVhMeIoJd $ARNA
dougheuring
29 Jul 15 19:17:27
RBC $ARNA inches further into the hot-as-of-late S1P1 space with APD334 oral agent, starting a Phase II trial in UC http://t.co/w22UQ7WO4Y
				
				
  +Follow June 20, 2013 2:51PM
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