Top Healthcare Stocks
Healthcare stocks are narrowly lower, with the NYSE Healthcare
Sector Index dropping about 0.2% and shares of healthcare companies
in the S&P 500 sliding around 0.1% as a group.
In company news, Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (
), Orexigen Therapeutics Inc (
) and VIVUS Inc. (
) all are higher, with the makers of anti-obesity drug benefiting
from a decision on Tuesday by the American Medical Association to
classify obesity as a disease.
While the AMA move carries no legal standing, it likely could
work to convince more insurers to cover the costs of the companies'
weight-loss medications, including ARNA's Belviq and VVUS' Qsymia -
both of which have reached the market over the past year following
U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval - while marketing
approval for OREX's Contrave in the United States still is
Increased insurer acceptance is critical because most consumers
are unlikely to pay top-shelf prices for the drugs, according to
Seeking Alpha columnist Spencer Osborne, citing a recent Piper
Jaffray survey that found only 3.3% of obese people were willing to
pay more than $50 for their weight-loss drugs.
At last look, VVUS was posting a 4.6% advance at $14.40 a share
while ARNA was up 1.1% to $7.59 a share. OREX recently turned
negative for the session, falling 0.5% to $6.35 a share.
In other sector news,
(+) CO, (+3.1%) Fiscal Q4 revenue climbs 33.3% from the same
quarter last year to $21.4 mln, breezing past analyst expectations
by $4.81 mln. Earnings decline 20% compared to a year ago to $0.05
per ADS, also topping the analyst consensus by $0.03 per share.
(-) BIOD, (-9.7%) Announces plans to sell a yet-to-be-determined
number of shares of common stock, subject to market conditions and
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