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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
James P Worthy
2 Sep 14 07:01:17
$ARNA Hot Stocks: Zynga Inc(NASDAQ:ZNGA), Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(NASDAQ ... http://t.co/YqFMGqHb2S
Sterph1
2 Sep 14 06:47:44
Sept no diff (so far) for $ARNA - rangey daytrade fodder (4.24) and imo $4 more likely than $5 barring headline/rumor.
Sarcasm Bot
2 Sep 14 06:10:40
$ARNA can't break a meager $ 4.25 per share, remember the ARNA AT 8? 10? 11? i MISS IT SOOOO MUCH!
Adam
2 Sep 14 06:09:23
RT @BioStocks: $ARNA APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status For Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Biz Headlines
2 Sep 14 06:04:41
$ARNA: The Implications of Obesity as a Disability in Europe http://t.co/mfv9ohIEhX http://t.co/PMHR8sSyFJ
felix31
2 Sep 14 06:01:09
RT @ACInvestorBlog: Pre-market movers $CPWR $NCLH $SPLS $SYNA $REGN $ARNA $ACHN $GRPN $GPRO
Stock Signaling
2 Sep 14 06:01:04
Pre-Market Price Advances: $HIMX $GRPN $SYNA $CPWR $ARNA $REGN $GPRO $ACHN $CENX $SPLS $TSLA $NXPI $AVGO $JRJC $SPLK http://t.co/Vtx6dLy0Nw
Large Void Bot
2 Sep 14 06:00:28
Popular: $HGSH, $PRU, $ARNA, $GPRO, $REGN, $SNY, $SWC, $GS, $TEVA, $T, $WAGE
Amigobulls
2 Sep 14 05:57:35
$ARNA Arena pharma's APD811 gets orphan drug status. http://t.co/BQopWcqqd5
Shas'el
2 Sep 14 05:55:12
$arna belviq fb support group up to1091 significant increase from last friday
BuyersStrike
2 Sep 14 05:52:45
. @chasingthealpha This should explain it. "People viewing $AMPE also viewed: $ARNA $KERX $ROSG $PIP $GALE $DNDN ". Retail idiots.
Shas'el
2 Sep 14 05:52:42
RT @Pzaa_Guy: $ARNA - Arena Pharmaceuticals' APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension http://t.co/3Cxf6oxQG4
Zubeyr Kamil Açıksar
2 Sep 14 05:51:07
RT @marlentweets: 8:36 AM 10 NASDAQ Pre-Market Most Advanced $CPWR $NCLH $SPLS $REGN $SYNA $ARNA $ACHN $CENX $GRPN $TSLA
Antonio Costa
2 Sep 14 05:41:33
Pre-market movers $CPWR $NCLH $SPLS $SYNA $REGN $ARNA $ACHN $GRPN $GPRO
Myrollingstocks
2 Sep 14 05:40:27
We like this stock $ARNA http://t.co/7FTwwvcA0R
Marlen
2 Sep 14 05:37:36
8:36 AM 10 NASDAQ Pre-Market Most Advanced $CPWR $NCLH $SPLS $REGN $SYNA $ARNA $ACHN $CENX $GRPN $TSLA
PsychSignal
2 Sep 14 05:32:18
New bullish conversation activity in $ARNA. Had been quiet for past 48 hours.
browns
2 Sep 14 05:19:23
$ARNA 23% short, ratio 8.6 days.
browns
2 Sep 14 05:16:23
RT @StockBoardAsset: $ARNA APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension http://t.co/8yZkXISlzh
SBA
2 Sep 14 05:15:54
$ARNA 20day lat-band. Watching btm. http://t.co/6jOp4i4556
Evnt Trader
2 Sep 14 05:15:07
$ARNA APD811, and we look forward to advancing this drug candidate into a Phase 2 clinical trial program later this year."
David Nichols
2 Sep 14 05:14:03
RT @BioStocks: $ARNA APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status For Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
MarketGlance
2 Sep 14 05:12:44
Arena Pharmaceuticals' APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension - WSJ - http://t.co/0Db90BrHAa $ARNA
BV Healthcare
2 Sep 14 05:11:00
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals' APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.. http://t.co/8ZxrZfmqPd
Pzaa...Guy
2 Sep 14 05:11:00
$ARNA - Arena Pharmaceuticals' APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension http://t.co/3Cxf6oxQG4
StockNews
2 Sep 14 05:10:52
$ARNA - Arena Pharmaceuticals' APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension http://t.co/xH7D9n4Df7
VisualStock Resource
2 Sep 14 05:10:48
$ARNA - Arena Pharmaceuticals' APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension http://t.co/YT60r43zav
SBA
2 Sep 14 05:07:10
$ARNA APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension http://t.co/8yZkXISlzh
$Stocknewsalerts
2 Sep 14 05:06:59
$ARNA Arena Pharmaceuticals' APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension From our Stock News Alerts App
4-traders.com
2 Sep 14 05:05:23
Arena Pharmaceuticals' : APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension http://t.co/PmN5l3JpVo $ARNA
Bio Stocks™
2 Sep 14 05:02:11
$ARNA APD811 Granted Orphan Drug Status For Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Market Updater
1 Sep 14 21:04:42
$ARNA: Concerns on Biotech Stocks- Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA ... http://t.co/U0U8lPNIDt http://t.co/ZA8HtQQ9P5
Stockaholics
1 Sep 14 20:14:58
$IWEB closed up 100% today, on more than 290 MILLION shares traded! Huge News: http://t.co/ucQcnpafDY $TECD $ARNA $AET
InsiderTradingWire
1 Sep 14 19:46:38
$ARNA | Arena Pharmaceuti is down 29% since we reported $1,308,582 of insider selling on 07/03/2014. Did you ... - http://t.co/qy5EjR2VL3
Raymond Henson
1 Sep 14 18:06:53
RT @ewenker: Weightloss with Belviq: a proud moment #belviq $arna http://t.co/dAOus8YmBH
Raymond Henson
1 Sep 14 17:03:57
RT @SharonAConklin: @sarcbot $ARNA drug must be showing superiority or would have not got the designation.
Raymond Henson
1 Sep 14 17:03:07
RT @theflynews: $ARNA Arena pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment granted orphan designation: Full Story http://t.co/399ifAo42u
Raymond Henson
1 Sep 14 17:02:02
RT @TheGekkoWire: “@TradeHawk: $ARNA gets FDA Orphan Designation for Acetic Acid for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension http://t.…
Stockaholics
1 Sep 14 15:48:55
$IWEB closed up 100% today, on more than 290 MILLION shares traded! Huge News: http://t.co/ucQcnpafDY $TECD $ARNA $AET
Matt
1 Sep 14 12:45:35
Chart of $ARNA from 2012, as pattern is similar to $TWTR - notes on the chart #VCP http://t.co/BeBoc1aKsy
browns
1 Sep 14 10:53:37
My top for this week: $MOBI $INSY $NAVB $ETAK Bottom watching $ARNA
Financial Headlines
1 Sep 14 09:04:48
$ARNA: Big Movers: MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD), Arena Pharmaceuticals ... http://t.co/ZKexvTLRId http://t.co/8yoJqCfnSS
Patrick Mouyal
1 Sep 14 08:25:04
$OREX awaits the approval , the anti-obesity drug Contrave, also known as NB32. The FDA decision = September 11, 2014, $ARNA vs OREX$ $VVUS
OTPicks.com
1 Sep 14 00:01:56
http://t.co/rruxxRYVwc $heff: $ARNA.. gets FDA Orphan Designation for Acetic Acid: $heff http://t.co/e5fw2YclvN http://t.co/rruxxRYVwc
Doug Bauch
31 Aug 14 14:27:48
RT @ewenker: Weightloss with Belviq: a proud moment #belviq $arna http://t.co/dAOus8YmBH
TheSlimSecret
31 Aug 14 13:42:02
RT @ewenker: Weightloss with Belviq: a proud moment #belviq $arna http://t.co/dAOus8YmBH
carl s
31 Aug 14 13:41:51
RT @ewenker: Weightloss with Belviq: a proud moment #belviq $arna http://t.co/dAOus8YmBH
Ellie Wenker
31 Aug 14 13:40:16
Weightloss with Belviq: a proud moment #belviq $arna http://t.co/dAOus8YmBH
TipRanks
31 Aug 14 07:10:16
Top Expert Consensus for $ARNA is Hold https://t.co/v23K5LiyO9
broohaha9
30 Aug 14 15:42:57
@BioBounce any thoughts on $arna?
				
				
  +Follow June 20, 2013 2:51PM
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