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Rx Diet Drug Sales Still Paltry

According to the popular stock advisory service The Motley Fool, Qsymia's sales have been minuscule since its launch in Sept. 2012. VIVUS' revenue from the drug in Q2 2013 was $5.5 million compared to $4.1 million in Q1 2013. At the same time, the company has reported a net loss of $55.5 million, which is primarily attributable to increased selling, general, and administrative expenses related to commercialization of Qsymia.

Drugs sales are highly correlated to the reimbursement coverage for the drug, hence Qsymia's challenge. The high cost burden on patients due to lack of reimbursement for Qsymia has been limiting the growth of the product Currently Qsymia is available at $150 per month without insurance coverage. The company is trying hard to increase Qsymia reimbursement coverage. As of July, Qsymia has increased coverage for approximately 36%  of the 160 million people in the U.S. with private or self-insurance. The U.S. Veterans Administration became the first governmental entity to cover Qsymia at a $9 co-pay.

The company recently amended its agreement with Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, the top U.S. pharmacy benefit managers. PBMs are primarily responsible for processing and paying prescription drug claims, and their involvement helps patients get the drug at discounted rates. After the amendment, patients are required to pay only $25 to $30 for their co-payment, which was $50 to $60 earlier.

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