Express Scripts will cover weight-loss med Qsymia

Decision a boost for Vivus' new, but flagging drug
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Vivus' weight-loss drug Qsymia--courtesy of Vivus.

Vivus' weight-loss drug Qsymia, which has suffered from lagging uptake, has gotten a boost by pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, which will now pay for the drug.

Many patients have been paying the full freight for the drug, about $160 a month mail order, but under an Express Scripts plan, that would fall to about $50 to $60 a month, Reuters reports.

Analysts were almost as excited as patients. Reuters points out that Cowen & Co. analyst Simos Simeonidis told investors in a note, "We believe that it is a positive sign for longer-term success on the reimbursement that Vivus has been able to make these inroads during the first three months of the launch."

Qsymia is one of the first weight-loss drugs approved by the FDA in years and Vivus ($VVUS) has been under the microscope since its launch. With sales lagging, the drugmaker recently offered some free trials for the drug, hoping to build up its market. In part, Vivus was trying to appease investors. One of its key investors has suggested that shareholders would do better if the company could be sold.

The drug does seem to be gaining a foothold. According to Reuters, last month, health insurer Aetna also signed on to cover Qsymia and Arena Pharmaceuticals' ($ARNA) Belviq.

- read the Reuters story

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