Express Scripts will Cover Vivus’s Obesity Drug, Qsymia
Vivus Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, has announced today that Express Scripts Holding Co., one of the country's largest Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), will now cover Qsymia, obesity drug by Vivus, in the national pharmacy formularies as a standard benefit option, so that the drug would be available to many people.
Under the Express Scripts plan for standard benefit option, patients will give $50 to $60 as their co-payment on a monthly prescription of Qsymia, nearly one-third of the retail price.
"This is a major step forward in expanding access to an important new medication for a population that needs effective pharmacological interventions," Peter Tam, President of VIVUS, said in a statement. "Obesity has a devastating impact on our society and contributes significantly to comorbidities such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol."
Qsymia is available as phentermine and topiramate extended-release capsules and has been approved for weight management in obese or overweight patients with at least one of the medical condition related to weight such as high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. It is used in combination with reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
This medicine is contraindicated in pregnancy, in patients of glaucoma, in hyperthyroidism, in patients getting treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and in patients, who are hypersensitive to sympathomimetic amines, topiramate, or other inactive ingredients of Qsymia.
Among the common side effects of the drug are burning or tingling skin sensation, dizziness, disturbance in the sense of taste, difficulty in sleeping, constipation, and dry mouth.