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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
rihanna clarke
1 Feb 15 06:14:17
RT @SupremeSees: Risk Vs. Revard or How to Trade with a PLAN! http://t.co/w5w0BXeaMC $ARNA $CISG $NDRM $LOCO $FRO #Daytrading #pennystockin…
Sharon Conklin
1 Feb 15 05:42:34
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA Cognitive Function is Impaired by Obesity and Alleviated by Lorcaserin Treatment in Mice. http://t.co/O9AFsdpET6
SmallCaps
1 Feb 15 05:26:06
http://t.co/4cmfbrjpa0 <- the number one reason you will fail or succeed as a trader must see! $ARNA $PZZI $ZPIN $LAKE
OM_giveaways
1 Feb 15 02:00:12
Learn to trade advanced options strats. #spreads #condors $TWTR $ARNA $XOM $INTC $LIVE http://t.co/TJLqCU8F47 http://t.co/BtiTdiImR8
HotKeyTrading
1 Feb 15 02:00:05
Coverage Initiated: $GFI $DPLO $VMI $TRMB $MWA $ACC $KS $SRPT $OREX $ARNA $MDVN $PTCT $PBYI $VVUS $NOW http://t.co/Vv2VEnpBuv #wallstreet
Scott
31 Jan 15 22:27:49
$gild $abbv $rgls $achn I think the hep c market much closer to the obesity market 3 years ago than people realize..$orex $vvus $arna
EyeBeThere
31 Jan 15 22:07:57
RT @SharonAConklin: $ARNA $ESALY Eisai confirmed Belviq Phase II study met its primary endpoint and confirmed proof of concept for smoking …
EyeBeThere
31 Jan 15 22:06:33
RT @SharonAConklin: $ARNA $VVUS $OREX Symphony Belviq up 5.5% Qsymia up 0.6% Contrave up 3.8%.
EyeBeThere
31 Jan 15 22:05:17
RT @biogemfinder: $ARNA this has been the most frustrating stock I have EVER owned! Clearly manipulated & insiders don't seem to care about…
OM_giveaways
31 Jan 15 20:01:08
Learn to trade advanced options strats. #spreads #condors $TWTR $ARNA $XOM $INTC $LIVE http://t.co/TJLqCU8F47 http://t.co/2IuB17UwrZ
SmallCaps
31 Jan 15 18:01:10
http://t.co/4cmfbrjpa0 <- the number one reason you will fail or succeed as a trader must see! $ARNA $PZZI $ZPIN $LAKE
Stockaholics
31 Jan 15 15:42:56
Our Alerts on $IJJP $QLTS $TUNG & $ETBI Gained 160% This Week! Get Our Next Pick: http://t.co/LayPQuOeI4 $TECD $ARNA $AET
OM_giveaways
31 Jan 15 14:44:06
Learn to trade advanced options strats. #spreads #condors $TWTR $ARNA $XOM $INTC $LIVE http://t.co/TJLqCU8F47 http://t.co/xhNCGlgM4w
Terry O.
31 Jan 15 14:07:43
RT @dougheuringaria: TRx Growth for Qsymia, Belviq and Contrave Post their Respective Launches $OREX $ARNA $VVUS http://t.co/UTjLlxqZv2
HotKeyTrading
31 Jan 15 14:00:05
Coverage Initiated: $GFI $DPLO $VMI $TRMB $MWA $ACC $KS $SRPT $OREX $ARNA $MDVN $PTCT $PBYI $VVUS $NOW http://t.co/TRx9EnjwT5 #stocks #dow
PennyStocker
31 Jan 15 13:29:52
Wow the last pick from http://t.co/p3LC54YE49 popped over 450%. Nice for being free. $ZAZA $SID $CBIS $WTSL $ARNA
SmallCaps
31 Jan 15 11:32:36
http://t.co/4cmfbrjpa0 <- the number one reason you will fail or succeed as a trader must see! $ARNA $PZZI $ZPIN $LAKE
OptionsDNA
31 Jan 15 11:28:46
$ARNA very disappointing action yesterday, let's see what next week brings. Thompson PT on the stock is $7.67 http://t.co/MvG3VLzmq3
Investimonials.com
31 Jan 15 11:21:09
RT @kroyrunner89: http://t.co/LFh8vOp6tP Verified $5,750 loss in $ARNA End of January trades
Profit.ly
31 Jan 15 11:20:58
RT @kroyrunner89: http://t.co/LFh8vOp6tP Verified $5,750 loss in $ARNA End of January trades
Tim Grittani
31 Jan 15 11:13:50
http://t.co/LFh8vOp6tP Verified $5,750 loss in $ARNA End of January trades
OM_giveaways
31 Jan 15 09:32:08
Learn to trade advanced options strats. #spreads #condors $TWTR $ARNA $XOM $INTC $LIVE http://t.co/TJLqCU8F47 http://t.co/BnNP686so4
Stockaholics
31 Jan 15 07:13:36
Our Penny Stock Picks Gained an overall 160% This Week! New Picks Coming: http://t.co/LayPQuOeI4 $TECD $ARNA $AET
dax@up2date
31 Jan 15 06:02:09
RT @pharmalot: Consumer groups urge European Commission not to approve Orexigen diet drug.. http://t.co/8SKmrv86eY #pharma #obesity $OREX $…
Business online
31 Jan 15 04:34:17
RT @SupremeSees: Risk Vs. Revard or How to Trade with a PLAN! http://t.co/w5w0BXeaMC $ARNA $CISG $NDRM $LOCO $FRO #Daytrading #pennystockin…
OM_giveaways
31 Jan 15 04:11:09
Learn to trade advanced options strats. #spreads #condors $TWTR $ARNA $XOM $INTC $LIVE http://t.co/TJLqCU8F47 http://t.co/goUrGtiSmS
HotKeyTrading
31 Jan 15 02:00:04
Coverage Initiated: $GFI $DPLO $VMI $TRMB $MWA $ACC $KS $SRPT $OREX $ARNA $MDVN $PTCT $PBYI $VVUS $NOW http://t.co/TRx9EnjwT5 #investors
OM_giveaways
30 Jan 15 22:25:09
Learn to trade advanced options strats. #spreads #condors $TWTR $ARNA $XOM $INTC $LIVE http://t.co/TJLqCU8F47 http://t.co/FeSqHBNgGE
Mark Trader
30 Jan 15 21:44:43
http://t.co/vJ93JPRWBF has the most reliable picks in the market. The move fast and never fail. $ARNA $BAC $JCP $PBR $TLM $MTG $F
Stockaholics
30 Jan 15 19:53:07
Our Penny Stock Picks Gained an overall 160% This Week! New Picks Coming: http://t.co/LayPQuOeI4 $TECD $ARNA $AET
OM_giveaways
30 Jan 15 16:33:08
Learn to trade advanced options strats. #spreads #condors $TWTR $ARNA $XOM $INTC $LIVE http://t.co/TJLqCU8F47 http://t.co/hsJxn94srW
Stock Rocket
30 Jan 15 15:30:53
Our Penny Stock Picks Gained an overall 160% This Week! New Picks Coming: http://t.co/vJR8lXzozx $TECD $ARNA $AET
Trader News Daily
30 Jan 15 15:07:32
Wow http://t.co/PeRPkZkWiw just posted last weeks results. +429%. Crazy. They offer a free trial too. $HIMX $NVAX $TPLM $ARNA $PXYN
j
30 Jan 15 14:07:34
RT @SharonAConklin: $ARNA $VVUS $OREX Symphony Belviq up 5.5% Qsymia up 0.6% Contrave up 3.8%.
HotKeyTrading
30 Jan 15 14:00:05
Coverage Initiated: $GFI $DPLO $VMI $TRMB $MWA $ACC $KS $SRPT $OREX $ARNA $MDVN $PTCT $PBYI $VVUS $NOW http://t.co/TRx9EnjwT5 #investors
Peter To
30 Jan 15 13:05:39
oh yeah I was short $ARNA which i never got too big in but refused to pullback on day 1, that was frustrating too
Eli Pritsker
30 Jan 15 13:01:33
RT @strategynode: Long Plays 1/30/15 $SRV $PQ $IAG $DRL $GST $CUR $ARNA $ARWR $ACRX $FIVN $ADNC #Stocks #Stockpicks #daytrader
PennyStocker
30 Jan 15 12:44:40
Wow the last pick from http://t.co/p3LC54YE49 popped over 450%. Nice for being free. $ZAZA $SID $CBIS $WTSL $ARNA
biogemfinder
30 Jan 15 12:40:04
$ARNA this has been the most frustrating stock I have EVER owned! Clearly manipulated & insiders don't seem to care about retail holders
biogemfinder
30 Jan 15 12:33:52
$ARNA it appears that ESALY would have been a better bet than arena as it has less manipulation & reaching new highs for the last few days
Simon Chouldjian
30 Jan 15 12:33:08
$ARNA Cognitive Function is Impaired by Obesity and Alleviated by Lorcaserin Treatment in Mice> http://t.co/HksykbPeJA #weightloss #diabetes
BULLDOG INVESTOR
30 Jan 15 12:32:15
$ARNA vol coming bouncing off bottom
PolgarStocks
30 Jan 15 12:19:48
$SMSEY Ex-Div Date Click Here: http://t.co/NMR5POXLWS Also See: $SEOAY $ARNA $URANF $IHRT ~
Greg David
30 Jan 15 12:18:29
http://t.co/m2LNLuLe8I does trade alerts differently than anyone else. Its super cool. $ARIA $HT $CIM $BAS $ARNA
Shas'el
30 Jan 15 11:58:03
RT @SharonAConklin: $ARNA $VVUS $OREX Symphony Belviq up 5.5% Qsymia up 0.6% Contrave up 3.8%.
IPHawk
30 Jan 15 11:54:42
RT @SharonAConklin: $ARNA $VVUS $OREX Symphony Belviq up 5.5% Qsymia up 0.6% Contrave up 3.8%.
Sharon Conklin
30 Jan 15 11:54:18
$ARNA $VVUS $OREX Symphony Belviq up 5.5% Qsymia up 0.6% Contrave up 3.8%.
Tim O'Connell
30 Jan 15 11:09:54
covered my 10K $ARNA short at 4.33 from 5.13 short last week. +$8K profit. follow me if you like good short term trades.
OM_giveaways
30 Jan 15 11:02:08
Learn to trade advanced options strats. #spreads #condors $TWTR $ARNA $XOM $INTC $LIVE http://t.co/TJLqCU8F47 http://t.co/zsMUKo3Taj
The Street Mentor
30 Jan 15 10:51:18
Out at $4.38 not working on $ARNA
				
				
  +Follow June 20, 2013 2:51PM
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