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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
Ego
28 Aug 15 06:45:04
$ARNA Added more at $2.60 :)
StockNewsWires
28 Aug 15 06:33:03
$ARNA $PEP $IVZ $PCG: Active Trending Stocks: Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ …: http://t.co/likqhsPFm6
Mr Bentley Onelly
28 Aug 15 06:26:05
Pre Market Movers: $ARNA 9c $HK 5c $ISNS 19c $LPTH 40c $SGYP 7c $UGAZ 5c
DailyStockPicks
28 Aug 15 06:07:48
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DekmarTrades
28 Aug 15 06:06:13
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28 Aug 15 03:40:35
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CannaProducts
28 Aug 15 03:40:34
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528vape
28 Aug 15 03:40:34
#Potstocks DollarsOnPennies: $ARNA Weekly: DollarsOnPennies http://t.co/JG0PJl4C3e
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28 Aug 15 02:46:34
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IH NASDAQ OMX
28 Aug 15 02:32:03
ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals Volume http://t.co/WIkudoBYlp $ARNA $FXI $CURE $CNXT #ARNA #tradeideas #stocks
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28 Aug 15 01:39:25
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28 Aug 15 01:37:51
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carl s
27 Aug 15 18:04:33
RT @biogemfinder: $ARNA this stock has been a big pain in the a$$ since approval Bottom has to be somewhere close I added 20K $2.64 2day $I…
carl s
27 Aug 15 18:04:31
RT @OptionEgo: $ARNA Added quite a bit at $2.64
carl s
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Ego
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Joey
27 Aug 15 13:13:42
RT @biogemfinder: $ARNA this stock has been a big pain in the a$$ since approval Bottom has to be somewhere close I added 20K $2.64 2day $I…
biogemfinder
27 Aug 15 11:39:28
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Ego
27 Aug 15 10:33:58
$ARNA Added quite a bit at $2.64
Sweet Platform
27 Aug 15 09:38:36
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Red Acre Investments
27 Aug 15 08:46:36
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Red Acre Investments
27 Aug 15 08:41:33
@Sport234a yeah makes me feel like a $MNKD 2014 long or a $ARNA 2010 long - yeeesh
Quantcha
27 Aug 15 08:18:57
52-Week Low Alert: Trading today’s movement in ARENA PHARMACEUTICALS $ARNA http://t.co/TunWt1wgZo
Ego
27 Aug 15 07:03:35
$ARNA Slowly buying back my position... looking for volume.
Lucretia
27 Aug 15 07:01:36
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Short Interest Update http://t.co/uEi54cUnSC
Ego
27 Aug 15 06:41:51
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27 Aug 15 06:03:05
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27 Aug 15 04:04:37
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EyeBeThere
26 Aug 15 20:24:09
RT @SharonAConklin: #Obesity $ARNA $OREX $VVUS Phentermine & Belviq combination has been studied safely in a 12 week study. https://t.co…
Rosner Stocks
26 Aug 15 18:31:33
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Lauri M. Parker
26 Aug 15 16:55:33
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Simon Chouldjian
26 Aug 15 16:51:47
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JT
26 Aug 15 14:57:14
$arna Belviq http://t.co/Lx6g3DHvsk @Barbaro1420 @huck_jason
Doug Bauch
26 Aug 15 13:51:50
RT @Shas_el: $ARNA The New Obesity Drugs: an Rx for Weight Loss? http://t.co/1jaMvFxvko
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26 Aug 15 13:49:19
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  +Follow June 20, 2013 2:51PM
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