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Study Shows That Qsymia And Weight Watchers Are Most Budget Friendly

|Includes: ARNA, VIVUS, Inc. (VVUS), WW

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