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Spencer Osborne is founder of Satellite Standard Group [SSG], and a partner of Sirius Buzz (http://siriusbuzz.com/). Sirius Buzz covers the satellite radio industry as well as companies that do business in this sector. Sirius Buzz provides information and opinion to readers with an interest in... More
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  • Study Shows That Qsymia And Weight Watchers Are Most Budget Friendly 4 comments
    Jul 3, 2014 10:46 AM | about stocks: VVUS, ARNA, WTW

    A study published on PubMed identifies Qsymia and Weight Watchers as the most budget friendly weight loss options among several solutions within the study.



    To estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness of clinically proven nonsurgical commercial weight loss strategies for those with BMIs between 25 and 40.


    We performed a systematic literature review to identify randomized controlled trials of commercially available weight loss studies of at least 1 year in duration. Using the results of these trials and publicly available cost data, we quantified the incremental cost per kilogram of weight loss and per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained. We then use probabilistic sensitivity analyses to quantify uncertainty in our results.


    Based on the literature review, two lifestyle programs (Weight Watchers and Vtrim), one meal replacement program (Jenny Craig), and three pharmaceutical products (Qsymia, Lorcaserin, and Orlistat) were included in the analysis. Average cost per kilogram of weight lost ranged from $155 (95% CI: $110-$218) for Weight Watchers to $546 (95% CI: $390-$736) for Orlistat. The incremental cost per QALY gained for Weight Watchers and Qsymia was $34,630 and $54,130, respectively. All other interventions were prohibitively expensive or inferior in that weight loss could be achieved at a lower cost through one or a combination of the other strategies.


    Results suggest that, in the absence of other considerations and at current market prices, Weight Watchers and Qsymia represent the two most cost-effective strategies for nonsurgical weight loss.

    Copyright © 2014 The Obesity Society.

    The study looked at the cost per kilogram lost (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds) as well as the quality adjusted life year (QALY). The results were that Weight Watchers and Qsymia were the least expensive solutions and that the other companies, systems and drugs were simply more expensive.

    This study speaks to a very real issue in that the cost of losing weight is and will be a major consideration for consumers. Losing 2 .2 pounds for $155 with weight watchers is far more budget friendly than spendiong $546 for Orlistat. Prescription drugs seem to be at the expensive end of the range. One advantage that the drugs have is that insurance can offset the out-of pocket expense bringing them more in line with a system like Weight Watchers. Stay Tuned!

    Disclosure: The author is long ARNA.

    Additional disclosure: I have no position in Vivus or Weight Watchers

    Stocks: VVUS, ARNA, WTW
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Comments (4)
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  • jakes101
    , contributor
    Comments (1119) | Send Message
    Well now...that is interesting! Q is effective and relatively cheap, when you compare the per lb weight loss to price per pill. Nice to hear that.
    3 Jul 2014, 07:54 PM Reply Like
  • tgallo
    , contributor
    Comments (205) | Send Message
    Why did you leave out generic phentermine and generic topiramate? That is much cheaper and as effective as Qsymia. Qsymia is the mcdonalds of weightloss. Phentermine and topiramate are pennies per month. Guess what, still wouldn't take them. I don't want to feel dopey and I definitely can't my heart speeding up from phentermine.


    This is a example of you get what you pay for. Thanks for the analysis anyway but very narrow group you included in this analysis
    4 Jul 2014, 11:11 AM Reply Like
  • Spencer Osborne
    , contributor
    Comments (11619) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » tgallo...


    1. It was not my study, thus the opening line of the article, "A study published on PubMed identifies Qsymia and Weight Watchers as the most budget friendly weight loss options among several solutions within the study."


    2. Personally I would not take any of the weight loss drugs unless I was in a desperate situation. I have never put on weight, so do not forsee a desperate situation happening.
    4 Jul 2014, 06:42 PM Reply Like
  • Spencer Osborne
    , contributor
    Comments (11619) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Readers....


    It never seems to end...


    No matter what the data says there will be some that would rather find an excuse as to why the data might be wrong.


    The latest attempt at this comes from the arena investors crowd. The excuse is touting that Belviq can bring about better diabetes control and might allow done Belviq users to reduce or even eliminate their diabetes meds, thereby saving the consumer money, and thus Belviq is no longer as expensive.




    ANY weight loss will tend to have an impact on diabetes levels. That argument falls on its face when you consider that people on Qsymia or weight watchers (the ones indent infield as the least expensive in this study) will likely have similar impacts to diabetes meds.


    The fact is that weight loss is expensive.


    Vivus has a study that says 78% of pre-diabetics do not progress to diabetes when using Qsymia. Arena has a study that puts the number at 39%. Ironically, the vivus drug appears to take off more weight than the arena drug. Seems to indicate that weight loss is the biggest factor here. This is not to say Qsymia is better....it is however less expensive.
    13 Jul 2014, 03:13 PM Reply Like
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