On Tuesday, the FDA announced that Vivus Inc's experimental obesity pill, Qnexa, appears to be effective, but safety concerns remain. A public meeting on the drug will be held later this week.
Vivus wants to market Qnexa for use with diet and exercise. If approved for distribution, it would be the first prescription weight-loss drug in the US in a decade. All three doses of the drug were effective in trials, but there are several safety concerns, including its effect on pregnant women and psychiatric side effects.
In the US, more than two out of three people are overweight; accordingly, the drugmaker's shares have soared for over a year as investors anticipate the FDA's final decision. Shares were up 4.5 percent at $11.13 in trading before the market opened. The stock has more than doubled in the last 12 months.
An FDA panel of outside experts will discuss the safety of the drug and other issues on Thursday. Vivus expects a final decision by October 28.