This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Arena Fans Spinning (And Altering) Belviq Prescription Data

With Belviq not launching until June 11, second-quarter's reported sales will only reflect wholesaler stocking and not true patient demand, notes Credit Suisse analyst Ravi Mehrota in a research note.

"But Q3 matters, as does TRx data into the quarter, and TRx will need to meaningfully accelerated to meet the quarter," Mehrota adds. "Q3 would seem to need a TRx of at least around 190,000 for the entire quarter, or an average of around 15,000 TRx per week in the quarter."

Areniacs are also trying to calm their frazzled nerves by comparing initial Belviq weekly scripts to those recorded by Vivus (VVUS - Get Report) when it launched Qsymia last year. Again, this is a mistake because of the different ways in which the competing weight-loss pills hit the market. Until this week, Qsymia distribution was restricted to mail-order pharmacies while Belviq was launched immediately through retail pharmacies. Vivus also didn't offer free drug samples while Arena and Eisai are.

It's no surprise, then, that on a numeric basis, the early Belviq script numbers are higher than what Qsymia achieved in its first few weeks on the market.

What will mattter more for Belviq is what happens to demand once patients are no longer receiving free or discounted drug. With a middling 3 percent, placebo-adjusted weight loss and more than 50 percent of patients failing to lose 5% of their baseline weight at 12 weeks in the drug's pivotal clinical trials, the real concern is that a lot of obese patients won't be taking Belviq for very long, especially if they're forced to pay full price without insurance reimbursement.

Areniacs whine constantly about market manipulation and "trapped" shorts, but in reality, the short thesis on Arena has not changed appreciably since Belviq was approved. The drug doesn't work very well and it's expensive. Sales will disappoint, particularly relative to Arena's already lofty valuation.

It will take a lot more than two weeks of Belviq prescription data to prove the short thesis right or wrong.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
ARNA $4.06 0.50%
VVUS $1.44 -4.64%
AAPL $118.44 -2.36%
FB $94.14 0.14%
GOOG $631.21 0.90%

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,598.20 -91.66 -0.52%
S&P 500 2,098.04 -5.80 -0.28%
NASDAQ 5,115.3820 -12.8990 -0.25%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs