The diet drug, Contrave, may be approved by the Food and Drug Administration this week and it is eagerly anticipated by many as another important addition in the fight against obesity.
Contrave is now temporarily renamed NB32. It has gone through the federal submission process before, in 2011, but the FDA denied approval of the medication.
At the time, the agency had asked Orexigen, the pharmaceutical company that makes the drug, to conduct additional research into cardiovascular risks.
In 2013, Orexigen resubmitted its application for Contrave citing “encouraging” positive interim results from the 8900-patient Light Study A study that is still ongoing.
If approved, the company is expected to see massive sales as the American consumers are on the brink of a new safe and effective weight loss pill to use.
In clinical trials with Contrave, study participants lost on average 5 percent of their body weight. This is compared to other drugs such as Qsymia, where people lose on average 9 percent of their body weight, and Belviq, with an average body weight loss of 3 percent.
However, perhaps one of the reasons for the high anticipation for Contrave is that it is expected to be more easily available to the public than Qsymia and Belviq.
The latter two drugs are considered controlled substances, and therefore there are strict guidelines for a physician to prescribe them. But with Contrave, a doctor could even hand out samples.
With about a third of Americans classified obese, and expanding waistlines around the world, Orexigen is entering into a growing market. No pun intended. Wells Fargo analyst Matthew Andrews told CNBC News that he estimates Contrave will accumulate $1.2 billion in revenue by 2020.