Obesity rates are approaching 30% in developed countries, while a recognition of obesity's direct and indirect costs are driving development of treatment options. Given the size of the problem and its increasing prevalence and costs, one can readily conclude that the problem of obesity remains largely untouched. A variety of drugs and devices have been developed and are either on the market or the subject of aggressive industry effort to get them introduced. Thus far, the bulk of the success has come from obesity devices, including "restrictive" devices and "artificial fullness" devices.
Based on the resilient drivers of drug and device development in obesity, the treatment options available and the manufacturer revenues that are generated will tap into that steady state of demand to result in a rapidly changing market picture for drugs and devices. Accordingly, a substantial shift in obesity treatment options is going to happen over even just the next four years.
Below is illustrated the distribution of the obesity treatment market across options available in 2011 and in 2015.
Obesity Treatment Market, Drugs and Devices, 2011 and 2015
Source: MedMarket Diligence Report #S835, "Products, Technologies and Markets Worldwide for the Clinical Management of Obesity, 2011-2019."
In the aggregate, drug options, which currently only represent 45% of revenues, will rise to 65% by 2015 with the introduction of several drugs and drug types. This will mean only a relative reduction in the device market — indeed, select obesity device categories will be increasing at better than 60% annually — since the aggregate market continues to grow as more demand is addressed by drugs and devices.
With Vivus announcing that it has reached agreement with the Endocrine and Metabolic Division of the FDA on an early resubmission of its QNEXA new drug application for the treatment of obesity and, separately, with Arena Pharmaceuticals indicating that it plans to resubmit by year end 2011 its application for Lorcaserin, which was turned down by the FDA in 2010, the obesity drug market will be the major contender in obesity treatments that many expected it to be, despite the FDA's initial resistance.