While we will not know the numbers until Friday, we can look at the history of scripts on Arena's (NASDAQ:ARNA) Belviq and assess what might transpire with the script numbers, and more specifically, the refills.
By using an assumption that a patient gets a two week free trial, and then in theory would refill every 4 weeks thereafter, we can arrive at a potential pool from which refills would come from.
This week, I am anticipating that refills will be relatively flat. This will likely happen because the refill periods that we would consider include the July 4th holiday week, which was a down week for new scripts.
Last week, the percentage of refills of the available pool was 5.75%. Here is how that number is computed. I will use Symphony for this exercise.
Refills reported for the week of 10-4 = 818
New scripts for the week of 9-20 = 3,822
Total scripts for week of 8-23 = 4,204
Total scripts for week of 7-26 = 3,514
Total scripts for week of 6-28 = 2,677
The total pool of potential refills was 14,217. The refill amount of 818 last week was 5.75% of the potential pool.
This week, we can already look at some of the numbers that will be applied.
New scripts for the week of 9-27 = 3,936
Total scripts for the week of 8-30 = 4,202
Total scripts for the week of 8-2 = 3,875
Total scripts for the week of 7-5 = 2,437
The total potential pool for this week is 14,450. That is 233 more scripts than the previous week as a pool.
By using historical data, we can arrive at a realistic refill number this coming week of about 840, an increase of about 22 from the previous week. What we want to see is this number working its way back up to 7%. To give some flavor, refills of 1,000 this week would demonstrate a very positive trend.
On the low end I see refills as being 830 this week. On the high end I see them as being 880. The growth will be modest in my opinion, but the holiday week back in July is part of that.
Looking ahead to the next week, we will see the impact of Labor Day come to bear. That will be a double edged sword because the new script growth will be hampered by Columbus day, and refill growth will be hampered by Labor Day. Depending on how the numbers shake out, it could be something that active traders pounce on. Simply stated, this week has a refill challenge, and next week has the combination of a refill challenge as well as a new script growth challenge.
The available pool in the report after next will be 14,347. I count the available pool as the two week trial and 3 refills. As you can see, the available pool will be flat for about 3 weeks straight. Labor day carries its impacts there.
Looking ahead 3 reporting periods, I estimate that the potential pool will jump substantially to about 15,600. Essentially we may see three weeks of pretty flat progress followed by a jump.
Investors that are armed with this information have the advantage of knowledge as to why these challenges exist, and that they are not a systemic issue, but rather one time issues that will pass with a new weeks worth of numbers.
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Disclosure: I am long ARNA.