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Vivus's Qsymia will be Available in Certified Retail Pharmacies

On April 16, Vivus announced that the FDA approved a change to the distribution of Qsymia. Qsymia is a weight loss and weight management drug that is designed to be taken in conjunction with increased physical activity and better nutritional habits. Qsymia, which was previously only available through mail-order, will be available by July 2013 in certified retail pharmacies. These pharmacies will be listed in a pharmacy finder on www.Qsymia.com, but until July, Qsymia will only be available through mail-order.

We had the opportunity to discuss with Vivus how this modification affects patients. According to the company, the two most important benefits are that the drug will be more accessible, and patients will now be able to speak to their local pharmacist if they need help with Qsymia – one more healthcare provider to consult. 

As background, when the FDA approved Qsymia in July 2012, the agency required that Vivus have a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) in place. The goal of the REMS for Qsymia was to reduce birth defects by preventing pregnant women from taking the drug. By limiting Qsymia to mail-order prescriptions only, Vivus and certified mail-order pharmacies could better ensure that patients were given the instructions on how to take the drug. Now that the REMS modification has been approved, retail pharmacies that go through a certification process (takes less than 20 minutes) will be able to provide Qsymia. –MN