Profit bonanza eludes companies chasing obesity business
Sunday, December 01, 2013
"In a global economic downturn, modestly effective weight-loss drugs and special diet foods are turning out to be a tough sell when a cheaper alternative is to eat less – or do nothing."
"Weak economies have curbed demand for pricey, specialist dieting schemes just as competition has exploded from a host of electronic apps that count calories for free – and securing insurance reimbursement has been an uphill fight for new drugs that cost around $160-$200 a month in the United States."
"The popular fen-phen drug combination was taken off the market in 1997 for causing heart damage, while Sanofi’s Acomplia was withdrawn in Europe in 2008 after being linked to suicidal thoughts – it never won U.S. approval – and Abbott’s Meridia was pulled in 2010 on heart worries.
As a result, global sales of obesity drugs have halved in the last five years, and even though they are expected to climb again they will remain dwarfed by therapies to treat diabetes, as rates of type 2 disease – the kind linked to obesity – soar."
"Analysts say the lion’s share of the world’s dieters use a “do-it-yourself” approach.
“Broccoli and lettuce are good competition for weight-loss shakes,” said Imperial Capital analyst Mitchell Pinheiro."