Last Updated Aug 10, 2011 9:52 PM EDT
It's a far cry from just two years ago, when analysts forecast a gold rush in the obesity market, with products estimated to make up to $10 billion a year in revenues. But there's still money to be made from obesity, as long as most people don't actually lose weight.
Here's the recent history:
- Allergan's Q2 2011 earnings revealed that sales of its Lap-Band gastric banding device declined again, by 7.5 percent to $54.5 million. The company blamed lack of government reimbursement and hefty copays with private insurance. The sales decline came despite a campaign by Allergan that threw money at doctors to get their endorsement of the product. Allergan previously discontinued the Easyband, a different gastric banding product.
- Medicis, in its Q2, reported that its LipoSonix fat reduction business, acquired only in 2008, was now considered a discontinued business and the company was looking to sell it.
- Likewise, GSK is trying to sell Alli, the over-the-counter diet drug that works as long as you can live with its infamous smelly side effects. GSK poured millions into Alli, but the product never became a significant earner of revenues.
- And the FDA decided not to approve three new weight-loss pills from Arena (ARNA), Orexigen Therapeutics (OREX) and Vivus (VVUS).
There is much more money to be made in keeping America fat than there is in reducing its weight, a notion that ought to tantalize conspiracy theorists everywhere.
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