INSURERES THINK RATHER APART FROM FDA APPROVAL
There are many reasons behind to accept obesity as a disease:
- Main reason behind being that an obese individual is very prone to diseases like heart diseases, diabetes especially of type 2, obstructive sleep apnea, some types of cancer and osteoarthritis as well.
- It may be a bit difficult to believe but the anti-obesity drugs also triggers certain diseases thus; many drugs like Diethylpropion (Tenuate) and phentermine (Adipex) are recommended by Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) only for short term use of 12 weeks only.
Whereas, drugs like Belviq, Qsymia, Contrave and Saxenda are approved by FDA in 2012 for long term usage. The dilemma faced by these drugs in takers is that their insurers do not cover any anti-obesity drug reason behind that the health plans of insurers mainly cover causes that give an immediate impact within the limit of yearly plan period.
It is an estimate that about a third of the insurance companies do not cover obesity drugs at all, a third approve of all the weight loss drugs approved by FDA and the remaining third do cover approved drugs but considering restrictions to use of them. Here Medicare prescription program is worth mentioning which especially excludes the obesity drugs from its coverage.
Reasons for the retrieval of insurance companies:
- The cases arising of serious health problems due to continuous use of obesity drugs in past in which the withdrawal of the drug fenfluramine in 1997, which was a part of fen-phen diet drug combination found to damage heart valves.
- Besides this aforementioned reason the other diseases mentioned that obesity invites is also a major one for the insurers to withdraw. But, these reasons cannot prevent FDA from latest approval of diet drugs (Belviq, Qsymia, Contrave and Sexanda) as they work on obese patients by suppressing their appetite and if they take these drugs along with proper diet and exercise it has been observed that people loose from 5-10% of their body weight, which is fair enough. Other reason for approval is that these drugs is generally recommended to people having BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or more and to overweight people having BMI of 20 or more even if they have heart disease or diabetes or any other similar condition.
In view of medical researchers and related field experts, insurance companies should realize that obesity is a disease that has expensive treatment up to $200/ month which is not easy for everyone to pay so, keeping aside the variability and effectiveness evidence of the diet drugs insurers should introduce some plans covering the drugs, at last it is one of the major diseases whose patients need commune help.