Rower, River Soar

Soaring, Gliding, and Dragging Sales in Obesity and Fitness

Early reports are in on uptake of the latest new treatment available for obesity, Saxenda liraglutide injection. Industry analyst Spencer Osborne reports that sales for Saxenda surpassed a rate of 1,000 prescriptions per week just nine weeks into the introduction of the product. Considering a very targeted positioning for people with BMIs greater than 35 and a relatively high price point, Osborne says:

Certainly, passing 1,000 scripts in a couple of months is probably better than expected results this early into the launch.

It’s worth contrasting this experience of gliding upward against modest expectations against the experiences of others competing in the realm of obesity, health, and fitness. The other three drugs competing in this space are having mixed success. Offered at a lower price point than Saxenda, only Contrave appears to be still on a growth curve. Belviq and Qsymia are relatively flat in terms of prescription volume.

Compare that to the tough sledding that Weight Watchers — a long-time leader in weight management — continues to experience. The company’s stock price is down 84% in 2015 as the brand struggles to remain relevant to consumers who are dealing with concerns about obesity by investing their time and money in fitness and health more than dieting.

The mirror image would be the soaring experience of  Fitbit, maker of fitness and health trackers that has just completed a wildly successful public stock offering after building a loyal following for a little more than seven years. In a space where many — including Apple with its much hyped Watch — are competing for attention, Fitbit truly defines the market for health and fitness trackers. Close to 10 million people are actively using Fitbit devices, which acount for 85% of U.S. sales in this growing category and 34% of worldwide sales.

All these different experiences point to considerable flux in consumer attitudes and behaviors related to obesity, health, and fitness. That flux means opportunities for innovators who meet consumer needs and the possibility to change the dynamics that have fueled the epidemic of obesity that challenges public health.

Click here and here to read more about results for the new obesity drugs. Click here for more about the struggles of Weight Watchers. Click here for more about the soaring success of Fitbit.

Rower, River Soar — photograph © Chris Hoare / flickr

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July 10, 2015