Obesity fattens up pharma sales

The obesity epidemic poses serious public health problems, but some market-watchers are looking past the cost to society for the benefits to business. Credit Suisse put out a report identifying 15 companies positioned to reap profits from overweight folks, and it includes three drug-and-device companies: Allergan, which sells a "Lap-Band" used in obesity surgery; Novo Nordisk, which is big in the diabetes market; and Merck, which markets drugs for diabetes and high cholesterol.

Why stop there, we say? Eli Lilly is also a big diabetes player, and Pfizer, Schering-Plough, and AstraZeneca all have big cholesterol meds. According to a new report, statin use has doubled already, with spending jumping to $19.7 billion in 2005 from $7.7 billion in 2000. And with more markets around the world adopting American-style diets, the growth--may only have just begun.

- see the WSJ Health Blog item
- check out the Pharmalot post