The majority of US doctors say they are likely to prescribe Sanofi-Aventis’ new anti-obesity drug Acomplia (rimonabant), following its anticipated launch in mid-2006, according to a new report from research firm Decision Resources. However, the good news for Sanofi-Aventis is likely to be tinged by the finding that Acomplia is not likely to achieve coverage in healthcare maintenance organization formularies.

The findings showed that 73% of endocrinologists and nearly 60% of primary care physicians say they are likely to prescribe Acomplia to treat patients with obesity. But, while Acomplia has the potential to reach blockbuster status, nearly half of the managed care pharmacy directors surveyed indicate that the drug will likely not be covered

in their product formularies owing to general policies that exclude weight-loss treatments from prescription benefits.

"If approved, Acomplia will be the first novel drug to hit the obesity market over the past five years, and many doctors say they will prescribe this drug for the indication," said Donny Wong, analyst at Decision Resources. “However, a significant barrier to the use of Acomplia will be the attitudes and policies of HMO pharmacy directors, who continue to view obesity as a lifestyle issue rather than as a true medical condition.”