Sanofi-Aventis said today its new drug Acomplia for obese and overweight people with diabetes will be reimbursed by Sweden’s health service in a boost to the drug’s prospects.

Acomplia (rimonabant) has been tipped as a possible blockbuster for Sanofi, but its eventual success will hinge on convincing healthcare payers that it meets a legitimate medical need and should not be dismissed as a ‘lifestyle’ drug.

Sanofi has already won reimbursement for Acomplia in Denmark and Ireland, but suffered a setback earlier this year when government advisors in Germany recommended that the country's healthcare system should not reimburse treatment with the drug. The government is currently considering the proposal.

Meanwhile, Acomplia has been delayed in the USA by a request for more information by the Food and Drug Administration.

Sanofi has said it expects Acomplia to become a blockbuster product with peak revenues of $3 billion or more, and it made the first contribution in the third quarter, adding 11 million euros in sales to the company's coffers.