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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
Pavos Roble
22 Aug 14 14:25:35
@TroKalayjianCRG It is not over yet - stay long $arna
biogemfinder
22 Aug 14 14:03:15
Commented on StockTwits: $ARNA I should have sold all of my holdings at 4.20. I will consider that next week if i... http://t.co/AbK1LL1OYt
biogemfinder
22 Aug 14 14:00:40
Sold off all my $SQNM at $3.72, $SNSS at $3.49. Waiting for to get rid of $ARNA and $EXEL. All of it. Will consider once things look up..
Business News Now
22 Aug 14 13:04:40
$ARNA: Small Cap Obesity Stock Orexigen Therapeutics (OREX) Awaits Its Fate (ARNA ... http://t.co/WQyWOkjXjf http://t.co/rB9ckhbP5M
b
22 Aug 14 12:05:09
RT @EVILJOE65: $ARNA Symphony scripts 13,678 unadjusted 7% market share
GoldenHounds
22 Aug 14 11:53:44
RT @tiki473: What's in your wallet? $MYEC $VPOR $VGPR $AOLS $ARNA $HBAN waiting for buy ops $SFTBF
docking
22 Aug 14 11:50:20
$ARNA up off lows now at 4.22ask
Pat Coleman
22 Aug 14 11:45:33
What's in your wallet? $MYEC $VPOR $VGPR $AOLS $ARNA $HBAN waiting for buy ops $SFTBF
Beak Snot
22 Aug 14 11:37:13
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA symp # 13,678 for belviq, unconfirmed from IV 8/15/14,
Beak Snot
22 Aug 14 11:37:09
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA once a day belviq, coming soon? http://t.co/b7wfq8p701
b
22 Aug 14 11:35:31
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA symp # 13,678 for belviq, unconfirmed from IV 8/15/14,
carl s
22 Aug 14 11:09:11
RT @EVILJOE65: $ARNA Symphony scripts 13,678 unadjusted 7% market share
carl s
22 Aug 14 11:09:08
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA once a day belviq, coming soon? http://t.co/b7wfq8p701
Shas'el
22 Aug 14 11:08:49
$ARNA symp # 13,678 for belviq, unconfirmed from IV 8/15/14,
Shas'el
22 Aug 14 10:35:32
$ARNA once a day belviq, coming soon? http://t.co/b7wfq8p701
US_proptrader
22 Aug 14 10:25:23
$ARNA $COUP $DGLY $DHRM $FEYE $INO $PEIX $PVA $TKMR autocharts @ http://t.co/hj7PGeTQk3
j
22 Aug 14 10:04:44
@InsiderWire $ARNA Symphony scripts 13,678 unadjusted 7% market share
Market Headlines
22 Aug 14 10:04:37
$ARNA: Merko completes complicated Tondiraba Ice Arena in 14 months http://t.co/4vyshl1tfH http://t.co/SR3bKgMGyp
Sharon Conklin
22 Aug 14 09:53:20
RT @DecisionPlus: Watch Q- $ARNA for a possible rebound #traders #technicalanalysis http://t.co/KF2xMrwc7m
InsiderTradingWire
22 Aug 14 09:49:11
$ARNA | Arena Pharmaceuti is down 29% since we reported $1,308,582 of insider selling on 07/03/2014. Did you ... - http://t.co/JchETWmVpX
Francis St-georges
22 Aug 14 09:25:01
RT @DecisionPlus: Watch Q- $ARNA for a possible rebound #traders #technicalanalysis http://t.co/KF2xMrwc7m
US_proptrader
22 Aug 14 09:22:23
$ARNA $BITA $CLDX $COUP $DGLY $HGSH $JRJC $KATE $SPPI autocharts @ http://t.co/cLiki48C5r
DecisionPlus
22 Aug 14 09:20:19
Watch Q- $ARNA for a possible rebound #traders #technicalanalysis http://t.co/KF2xMrwc7m
j
22 Aug 14 09:17:51
$ARNA Symphony scripts 13,678 unadjusted 7% market share
Beak Snot
22 Aug 14 08:30:19
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA IMS scripts week ended 8/15.2014 Qsymia (VVUS) TRx/NRx 10651/7560 -0.1%/+1.0% w/w. Belviq (ARNA) TRx/NRx 10895/8172 +2.…
US_proptrader
22 Aug 14 07:48:23
$ACHN $ARNA $DGLY $HGSH $HK $JRJC $ODP $SCTY $TRUE autocharts @ http://t.co/hj7PGeTQk3
b
22 Aug 14 07:37:34
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA IMS scripts week ended 8/15.2014 Qsymia (VVUS) TRx/NRx 10651/7560 -0.1%/+1.0% w/w. Belviq (ARNA) TRx/NRx 10895/8172 +2.…
biogemfinder
22 Aug 14 07:34:35
IS it real or am I hallucinating? $ARNA is up and $VVUS and $OREX are down? Now that I said it it will go the other way soon enough!
SONNY ONE
22 Aug 14 07:31:57
RT @EvntTrader: $ARNA at 2.2% script growth rate, income would be about 70m from 'now to end of year' at they're 33% cut from Esai. Full ye…
DARKBLUE
22 Aug 14 07:31:57
RT @EvntTrader: $ARNA at 2.2% script growth rate, income would be about 70m from 'now to end of year' at they're 33% cut from Esai. Full ye…
Evnt Trader
22 Aug 14 07:31:43
$ARNA at 2.2% script growth rate, income would be about 70m from 'now to end of year' at they're 33% cut from Esai. Full year 100+m?
US_proptrader
22 Aug 14 07:31:23
$ARNA $ARWR $CLDX $CMGE $FEYE $HGSH $NQ $ODP $SRPT autocharts @ http://t.co/hj7PGeTQk3
Financial Headlines
22 Aug 14 07:04:43
$ARNA: ARENA PHARMACEUTICALS INC Files SEC form 8-K, Other Events http://t.co/Qw00eJcVZt http://t.co/gq7v8FoAZr
biogemfinder
22 Aug 14 07:03:13
Another red day in $ARNA Of course seasonal low numbers in scripts are not going to help at all. Even if they R good who cares? PPS dropped.
Shas'el
22 Aug 14 06:48:58
$ARNA from sharon ymb
Shas'el
22 Aug 14 06:48:47
$ARNA IMS scripts week ended 8/15.2014 Qsymia (VVUS) TRx/NRx 10651/7560 -0.1%/+1.0% w/w. Belviq (ARNA) TRx/NRx 10895/8172 +2.1%/+2.2% w/w
Jeffrey Blake
22 Aug 14 06:00:50
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals Provides Corporate Update and Reports Second ... http://t.co/Ax3I2yHlgo
John Turner
22 Aug 14 06:00:50
$ARNA Concerns on Biotech Stocks- Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA ... http://t.co/0jPVociyCG
Shas'el
22 Aug 14 05:42:01
$ARNA Sugar: the evolution of a forbidden fruit http://t.co/7LoFHHQnzF
danielo
22 Aug 14 04:47:45
Commented on StockTwits: So tell me, what is going on with $ARNA? http://t.co/uSs56zunh5
Financial Updates
22 Aug 14 02:04:35
$ARNA: Arena Pharmaceuticals Falls on Wider-than-Expected Q2 Loss http://t.co/mYNoKVp35R http://t.co/gKohCw9WU1
WallStreet Pennies
22 Aug 14 01:05:30
Dollar$OnPennies: $ARNA Weekly http://t.co/dZmw4RzTqu
WallStreet Pennies
22 Aug 14 01:05:06
Dollar$OnPennies: $ARNA Daily http://t.co/UhEzmruXsr
Stephen M Richardson
21 Aug 14 23:30:50
RT @ACInvestorBlog: $ARNA The BIG picture. Major support 4.05. Looking at A/D the stock is in a distribution mode . http://t.co/rWuqKMX7Lm
Antonio Costa
21 Aug 14 22:57:21
$ARNA The BIG picture. Major support 4.05. Looking at A/D the stock is in a distribution mode . http://t.co/rWuqKMX7Lm
Colin Macleod
21 Aug 14 16:55:48
List of today's breakdowns to watch for pops & drops Friday http://t.co/69RHWELsfO $SPLS $AUY $CLF $GG $EGO $ARNA $SLW $SHLD $CLDX $KERX
Dr. Tro Kalayjian
21 Aug 14 16:34:52
My biggest blunder was thinking primary care would prescribe $vvus Qysmia $arna Belviq -> thst never happened - sales never materialized
Market News
21 Aug 14 16:04:19
$ARNA: Trending Stocks: Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA), Net Element ... http://t.co/CGCPtwR3uW http://t.co/lSMHD77n1s
Irma Doucet
21 Aug 14 15:31:05
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals Provides Corporate Update and Reports Second ... http://t.co/cjRsDLHWny
Harry Walkman
21 Aug 14 15:31:04
$ARNA Top Stories : Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA), BlackBerry Ltd ... http://t.co/bGxEuncWve
				
				
  +Follow June 20, 2013 2:51PM
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