Uptake of Vivus's Qsymia and Arena/Eisai's Belviq Will Be Hampered by
Widespread Managed Care Formulary Exclusion
Novo Nordisk's Victoza Will Emerge as the New Market Share Leader in Obesity,
According to a New Report from Decision Resources
BURLINGTON, Mass., April 16, 2013
BURLINGTON, Mass., April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of
the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and
healthcare issues, finds that nearly one half of surveyed managed care
organization (MCO) pharmacy and medical directors in the United States
currently exclude or block access to all weight-loss drugs, and one-third will
not cover an obesity drug without demonstration of long-term benefit. These
market access hurdles are significant barriers for uptake of new drugs such as
Vivus's Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate) and Arena/Eisai's Belviq, despite
the high level of unmet need for safe and effective obesity drugs. Surveyed
prescribers estimate that approximately 40 percent of their patients do not
receive a weight-loss drug due to formulary tiering or MCO restrictions.
The new U.S. Physician & Payer Forum report entitled The Emerging Obesity
Market: What U.S. Market-Access Hurdles Will Weight-Loss Drugs Face? finds
that nearly two-thirds of surveyed endocrinologists and primary care
physicians (PCPs) expect to increase their prescribing of Vivus' Qsymia over
the next year. However, Novo Nordisk's Victoza will likely become the
market-share leader in the obesity market, owing to physician familiarity with
the drug's use in type 2 diabetes and current experience with off-label
prescribing of the drug for obesity. Survey results show that endocrinologists
expect to prescribe Victoza to 20 percent of their obese and overweight
patients in 2015.
The report also finds that Qsymia and Orexigen/Takeda's Phase III drug
Contrave (bupropion and naltrexone) are vulnerable in the obesity market due
to surveyed physicians' willingness to prescribe generic components instead of
the branded fixed-dose combinations. Additionally, surveyed PCPs continue to
view phentermine (Teva's Adipex-P, generics) as the most efficacious
weight-loss drug; 59 percent of PCPs anticipate prescribing phentermine first
line in 2015.
"Surveyed endocrinologists and PCPs estimate that fewer than 26 percent of
their overweight and obese patients request a specific weight-loss drug," said
Decision Resources Senior Director Donny Wong, Ph.D. "As a result, despite
Qsymia's status as the newest obesity drug to launch in the United States
since Roche's Xenical and Abbott's Meridia, phentermine remains the most
commonly prescribed obesity drug. However, the heavy use of phentermine in the
United States may provide an opportunity for patients to be 'upgraded' to
Qsymia, or to try combination therapy with Belviq once that option becomes
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SOURCE Decision Resources
Contact: Decision Resources Group, Christopher Comfort, 781-993-2597,
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