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4 Rules to Avoid Regaining Lost Weight

Have you reached your ideal weight? Congratulations! You’re halfway to winning the weight loss battle.

The next phase, maintaining that loss, requires a different mindset. Think of it as a new permanent diet, not a return to your old way of eating, which is a sure way to return to your old weight.

Following these four golden rules will make it easier.

Rule number one: Maintain your support network. If you had help while you were losing weight, stay in contact with your doctor, group leader or diet buddy — whoever provided you with the motivation that got you through being on a restrictive diet. This way, he or she can encourage you to practice good weight-maintenance behavior. Cellphone and online contact may be all you need.

Rule number two: Don’t ease up on exercise. People who continue to work out regain less weight than those who don’t. Keep in mind that you may need to exercise even more now, especially if you start eating many more calories than you consumed to lose weight. Use a fitness tracker and aim to burn off at least 2,000 calories per week from exercise.

Rule number three: If you didn’t choose a forever diet to lose weight, pick one now, one that you can live with for the long term. The Mediterranean diet, for instance, offers a wide selection of good-for-you foods and heart-health advantages.

Rule number four: As you move from a weight loss diet to a weight maintenance diet, increase food intake very gradually. Start by increasing daily intake by just 200 calories for one week. At the end of that week, check your weight. If your weight stayed the same (no gain), you’ve got your new limit. Continue until the scale tells you that your weight is staying constant. Keep in mind that maintaining your lower weight will take far fewer calories than it took to maintain your old, higher weight — that’s why you can’t go back to eating the way you used to. Maintain (or start) a food and exercise log to make it easier to pinpoint the right balance of calories in and calories out.

More information

The University of Chicago Medicine has more easy-to-follow tips to avoid weight regain.


Unitedhealth investors look past strong 2Q to mixed data on medical costs

Shares of UnitedHealth Group fell 3 percent in early trading Tuesday as investors looked past strong second quarter earnings to mixed data on medical cost trends.

Profit jumped by 28 percent for the Minnetonka-based health care giant during the second quarter as the company topped earnings estimates and once again boosted financial guidance for the year.

But surveys of hospital utilization led investors to expect the Minnetonka-based health care giant might post even stronger earnings than figures reported by the company on Tuesday morning, said Ana Gupte, an analyst with Leerink.

UnitedHealth Group beat analyst estimates for earnings per share by 10 cents, Gupte wrote in an e-mail, “but expectations were for a bigger beat.”

UnitedHealth Group runs the nation’s largest health insurer, which is called UnitedHealthcare, plus a fast-growing division for health care services called Optum.

For the second quarter, UnitedHealth Group posted earnings of $2.92 billion on $56.1 billion in revenue, which was about 12 percent ahead of revenue during the year-ago quarter.

UnitedHealthcare saw second quarter growth in coverage for people with Medicare and Medicaid health plans, as well as in its global health insurance business that’s concentrated in South American. But the insurer saw a slip in the number of employer groups that hire UnitedHealthcare as a third party administrator for worker health plans.

Earnings from operations grew by nearly 7 percent during the quarter at UnitedHealthcare compared with an earnings growth rate of nearly 22 percent at Optum. Second quarter revenue grew by 16 percent to $5.94 billion at OptumHealth, which has a growing network of clinics, surgery centers and urgent care outposts.

Optum also runs a large pharmaceutical benefits manager (PBM), which handles the pharmacy portion of insurance benefits, plus a health care data and consulting business.

Second quarter adjusted earnings per share of $3.14 exceeded the $3.04 per share expected among analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. It was the sixteenth consecutive quarterly earnings beat.

After posting first quarter results that beat analyst expectations, UnitedHealth Group upped its financial guidance to adjusted net earnings of $12.40 to $12.65 per share. On Tuesday, UnitedHealth Group said it now expects adjusted net earnings to a range of $12.50 to $12.75 per share.

J&J sees 4-6% net pharma price drop this year; Remicade falls double digits in Q2

With the pharmaceutical industry closely tracking pricing developments, Johnson & Johnson executives shared the drug giant’s perspective after reporting second-quarter results Tuesday. For the year, the company is expecting net prices to fall between 4% and 6%.

Top-selling Remicade is a big part of the story. In the second quarter, the drug’s price fell 14%, J&J reported Tuesday. Still, the drug holds 94% of the market share, even as rival pharma giants Pfizer and Merck work to market their biosimilars for treating arthritis and other autoimmune conditions.

Despite a portfoliowide pricing decline of 2% in the quarter, J&J’s pharma sales grew nearly 11% to $20.8 billion, excluding revenues from Actelion, which J&J acquired last year. On the company’s Tuesday conference call, CEO Alex Gorsky said the unit’s growth reflects “strong underlying volume” increases. Stelara, Zytiga, Darzalex and Imbruvica helped fuel the sales growth.

J&J’s prediction that it’ll see up to a 6% net price decline this year adds another data point to the battle over drug prices between pharma and supply chain players. Last year, the drug giant paid out $15 billion in rebates and discounts and ended with its net prices down 4.6%. It’s among a group of drugmakers that reported net pricing declines in 2017, joined by Sanofi and Merck.

In recent years, as pharma’s pricing has come under growing scrutiny, drugmakers have pointed to burgeoning rebates and discounts in the supply chain that don’t always benefit patients. In defense of their industry, pharmacy benefit managers have said their tough negotiations drive savings for the U.S. health system and that drugmakers always set their prices.

What isn’t under debate between the sides is that rebates and discounts have ballooned in recent years, as have drug list prices. Patients pay based off of list prices, so the dynamic between pharma and middlemen has left them paying more.

Remicade could see further price erosion this year and next as more payer contracts come up for renewal, J&J execs said on Tuesday’s call. Meanwhile, Pfizer has sued the J&J alleging “anticompetitive” contracting practices to protect the drug’s revenue; a court’s decision on J&J’s motion to dismiss is expected soon.

In all, J&J’s sales grew 10.6% in the second quarter versus the same period last year. Despite the strong performance, J&J reduced its sales guidance for the year to $80.5 billion to $81.3 billion because of the effect of a strong U.S. dollar. The company had previously predicted $81 billion to $81.8 billion in 2018 sales.

The results come as pharma watchers keep a close eye on pricing developments. Already in July, Pfizer attracted unwanted attention with a dozens of price increases. President Donald Trump ratcheted up the criticism with a tweet saying the company “should be ashamed” of its move, and Pfizer agreed to defer the price hikes. After the developments, analysts predicted the attention to pricing could chill similar moves.

AbbVie Strikes Deal With Mylan to Delay Humira Biosimilar Challenge

Illinois-based AbbVie continues to do what it can to protect its Humira-driven revenue stream. This morning the company inked an agreement to grant Mylan the rights to begin marketing its biosimilar to Humira in the United States in 2023.

AbbVie said it will grant Mylan the non-exclusive rights on specified dates to its intellectual property in the United States and in other countries where AbbVie has intellectual property, excluding Europe.

Mylan’s U.S. license for its Humira biosimilar will begin July 31, 2023. The deal is similar to others it struck with Amgen and Samsung Bioepis. Mylan will pay royalties to AbbVie for licensing the Humira patents once its biosimilar is launched, AbbVie said this morning.

“AbbVie’s Humira patents reflect the groundbreaking work of AbbVie scientists in the field of fully-human biologics and our investment in patient-focused innovation,” said Laura Schumacher, AbbVie’s head of external affairs and general counsel. “We understand the importance of balancing innovation and accessibility, and our agreement with Mylan for its Humira biosimilar maintains that balance.”

In April AbbVie and Biogen reached a deal with Samsung Bioepis and its partner Biogen over the biosimilar Imraldi, an adalimumab biosimilar to Humira. In August Samsung Bioepis received marketing authorization in Europe for Imraldi for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. As part of its deal with AbbVie. The licensing agreement will be granted on a country-by-country basis in Europe beginning in October of this year. Samsung Bioepis will pay undisclosed royalties to AbbVie for licensing its Humira patents once its adalimumab biosimilar product is launched, AbbVie said.

Amgen will also be able to sell its biosimilar in Europe beginning in October as well, the same day that Samsung Bioepis was provided in its settlement. AbbVie and Amgen reached a similar agreement in 2017.

Biosimilar competition is becoming fierce as multiple companies are fighting for space to develop biosimilar therapies that will challenge traditional drugs manufactured by rival companies.

The bulk of AbbVie’s revenue stream comes from Humira. In 2017 Humira generated more than $18 billion for the company – about two-thirds of its total revenue.

Earlier this year Mylan and Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics Co., Ltd. partnered together to commercialize a biosimilar to Humira in Europe. The European Medicines Agency is expected to rule on the proposed Humira biosimilar in the second half of 2018.

Mylan is developing a number of biosimilar drugs. In June the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Mylan’s Fulphila, a biosimilar to Amgen’s Neulasta. Fulphila was approved to reduce the duration of fever or other signs of infection with a low count of neutrophils. Mylan also snagged FDA approval of Ogivri, a biosimilar to Genentech’s Herceptin in 2017. Ogivri was approved for all indications that Herceptin has been approved, including for the treatment of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer and metastatic stomach cancer, Mylan said in December. In March Mylan and Revance Therapeutics announced a deal to develop and market a biosimilar to Botox. Mylan is also attempting to develop a generic for Restasis.

Medidata upped to buy by RBC

Medidata upgraded to Outperform at RBC Capital on positive drug funding backdrop. As reported earlier, RBC Capital analyst George Hill upgraded Medidata to Outperform from Sector Perform and raised his price target to $100 from $83. The analyst says the company “well-positioned” to benefit from a favorable drug research funding environment and fund inflows as investors look for opportunities in the sector that are not affected by Amazon’s (AMZN) expected entry into the drug distribution business or the “precarious generic drug pricing environment”. Hill further states that Medidata’s “viable footprint” in the top-25 commercial trial sponsors and its “strong demand for increasingly sophisticated IT solutions in the trial process” should drive cross-sales opportunities.

Asterias 6-month report on spinal cord injury therapy trial

Asterias Biotherapeutics provided additional data from the company’s ongoing Phase 1/2a SCiStar study designed to evaluate the safety and potential efficacy of AST-OPC1 in the treatment of severe cervical spinal cord injury. The SCiStar study is an open-label, single-arm trial testing three escalating doses of AST-OPC1 in 25 subjects with subacute motor complete cervical spinal cord injury. These individuals have lost essentially all movement below their injury site and experience severe paralysis of the upper and lower limbs. Each subject in the SCiStar study has now completed a six month follow-up and the updated results for the SCiStar study have shown the following: Positive Safety Profile – Asterias has dosed 25 subjects with AST-OPC1 in the SCiStar study and a total of 30 subjects including the five subjects from a previous Phase 1 safety trial in thoracic spinal cord injury who have been followed for as long as seven years. To date, there have been no serious adverse events related to the AST-OPC1 cells. Cell Engraftment – 100% of Cohort 5 subjects have magnetic resonance imaging scans at six months consistent with the formation of a tissue matrix at the injury site, which is encouraging evidence that AST-OPC1 cells have engrafted at the injury site and helped to prevent cavitation. Together with the previously reported results from Cohorts 2-4, the MRI results-to-date for 95% of the Cohort 2-5 subjects provide supportive evidence that AST-OPC1 cells have durably engrafted at the injury site and helped to prevent cavitation. Cavitation is a destructive process that occurs within the spinal cord following spinal cord injuries, and typically results in permanent loss of motor and sensory function. Additionally, a patient with cavitation can develop a condition known as syringomyelia, which results in additional neurological and functional damage to the patient and can result in chronic pain. Improved Motor Function – 100% of Cohort 5 subjects have recovered at least one motor level on at least one side through six months, with two subjects having recovered one motor level bilaterally. At six months, 86% of Cohort 2-5 subjects recovered at least one motor level on at least one side and 18% of these subjects recovered two or more motor levels on at least one side.

OraSure weakness a buying opportunity, says Canaccord

Canaccord analyst Mark Massaro said the weakness in OraSure following a competitor firm’s downgrade is a buying opportunity. Massaro disagrees with the downgrade, as he believes the company’s strategic review will serve as a catalyst and the Q2 results look achievable. He believes the selloff has provided a compelling opportunity to buy the shares. Massaro reiterated his Buy rating and $20 price target on OraSure, which fell about 6% yesterday to close at $16.28 per share.