Vivus (NASDAQ:VVUS) announced on Thursday that Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) has added its new anti-obesity medication Qsymia as a standard benefit option to its pharmaceutical coverage.
Shares of Vivus climbed more than 2% on the news in Thursday afternoon trading, while Express Scripts shares rose fractionally.
The addition of Qsymia to Express Scripts coverage will cut the drug’s cost by about two-thirds for patients using the pharmacy benefits manager, Reuters noted.
Patients using Qsymia have paid an average of $160 through mail-order distributors. However, Express Scripts will offer it for a co-payment of between $50 and $60.
The drug’s high retail price has been an impediment to its greater use, Vivus noted. Up to 30% of patients who received a Qsymia prescription have opted not to fill it due to the price. Sales have been sluggish due to a lack of benefit coverage.