Eisai's revved-up Belviq marketing starting to pay off, analysts say

When it comes to addressing the market, pharma has three P's, according to Eisai's Michael O'Brien: physician, payer and patient. And as VP of specialty marketing, O'Brien is looking to hit each of them in promoting the recently launched weight-loss drug Belviq.

Michael O'Brien--Courtesy of Eisai

On the physician side, Eisai recently amped up its sales force, adding 100 reps in December and another 114 at the beginning of this year; the staff-up expands Eisai's reach from just under 25,000 docs to just under 65,000, O'Brien told FiercePharmaMarketing. And as Cowen & Co. analyst Simos Simeonidis wrote in a recent note to investors, the effects of that push should show up soon. "We expect this additional investment in sales resources to translate into a significant bump in Belviq scripts, starting over the next few weeks," he wrote.

Eisai and its partner, Arena Pharmaceuticals ($ARNA), are also looking at an improved payer landscape. PBM giant CVS Caremark ($CVS) last week inked an agreement with Eisai that should provide more than half of insured Americans with access to Belviq. "That was welcome news. CVS is an important customer within the pharma space," O'Brien said. Read more from FiercePharmaMarketing >>