An AMA designation might have no legal standing but new legislation aimed at Medicare coverage for weight-loss drugs could change that. Sens. Tom Carper and Lisa Murkowski and Reps. Bill Cassidy, M.D. and Ron Kind have introduced The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act which would, among other things , "allow Medicare to cover additional obesity treatments (beyond surgery) such as prescription drugs for chronic weight management." Leerink's Marko Kozul says the news "could provide further upside to current estimates" for Arena (ARNA +2.7%), Orexigen (OREX +0.5%), and Vivus (VVUS +7.7%).
The American Medical Association has voted to recognize obesity as a disease, a move that could prompt more insurers to pay for it - and define a third of Americans as being ill. SA author Spencer Osborne points out that companies that could benefit include Arena (ARNA), Vivus (VVUS) and Orexigen (OREX), whose prescription drugs are on the market or are in the FDA approval process. However, it's worth noting that the AMA's decision has no legal standing.
ConsumerReports advises overweight individuals to just "skip" Arena Pharmaceuticals' (ARNA -2.2%) Belviq citing "slim results" and "risks galore." The nonprofit says its medical advisers note that users can expect to lose only 3-3.7% of their body weight over the course of a year and may gain it back. Risk factors cited in the report include "headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation." The report recommends the following alternative: "eat less and exercise."
Piper Jaffray is optimistic on the introduction of Arena Pharmaceuticals' (ARNA -0.8%) Belviq (I, II), citing "pre-launch familiarity and high intention to prescribe." Analyst Edward Tenthoff says sales could reach $68M this year.
Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) rises 2.42% premarket after announcing that BELVIQ will be available in U.S. pharmacies beginning on June 11. The company earns $65M in milestone payments from partner Eisai (ESALF.PK) in connection with the launch. (PR)
Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA +8.2%) ramps higher today as the company moves closer than it's ever been to bringing its obesity drug Belviq to the U.S. market. A notice on the DEA's website says regulators have approved the scheduling of Belviq as a controlled substance. The notice will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, and Belviq can be sold 30 days after.
More on Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA): Q1 misses EPS estimates badly, but adding to an afternoon beating by investors is the company's disclosure that it's withdrawn a regulatory application to sell its weight-loss Belviq therapy in the European Union after calculating it wouldn't get a positive decision. Shares -15.7% AH.
Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA -1.8%) loses steam with the rest of the overall market despite its announcement that it was initiating dosing in a Phase 1 clinical trial of APD334, a potential treatment of autoimmune diseases. The trial is set to evaluate safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of single-ascending doses of APD334 in up to 64 volunteers.
Shares in Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA -2.2%) turn south this morning, shrugging off an earlier announcement of a $500K milestone payment from Eisai on the submission of a marketing authorization application for Belviq with regulatory authorities in Mexico. About 30% of adults in Mexico are obese and 70% are overweight or obese, which the company says is leading to a significant health and economic burden in the country.
Bacteria that live in the gut change after gastric-bypass surgery and may aid in weight loss, according to a recent study. Gastric surgery helps people lose weight by shrinking the size of the stomach and making it tougher to absorb calories, now scientists think it may also adjust gastrointestinal bacteria, contributing to weight loss and raising the possibility for less-drastic obesity treatment.