Skip to Main Content

In what is being called a novel bid to lower medicine costs, a drug maker has agreed to adjust the discounts that a Medicare Part D plan will receive for a treatment based on how patients respond — and the deal automatically lowers out-of-pocket costs for patients, as well.

In this instance, the UPMC Health plan will pay less for an AstraZeneca (AZN) blood thinner known as Brilinta, which is given to patients who suffered a heart attack, if it fails to prevent another attack over 12 months. Conversely, the health plan pays more if Brilinta works. At the same time, the patient copay will drop to $10, from around $45, for a month’s supply, bringing the cost closer to a generic version of a rival medicine.


The agreement between AstraZeneca and UPMC Health plan is apparently the first time that so-called outcomes-based contracting — an increasingly popular tool that drug companies dangle before payers to potentially lower their costs — has been coupled with a mechanism that can make less of a dent in patient pocketbooks.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!

  • People with zero interest in or understanding of policy need to spout their poorly informed nonsense on Bernie Sanders Twitter feed or something. Single payer is not conceivably going to happen anytime soon since it will require 60 votes in the Senate and require a presidential signature. In the meantime life goes on, this is a medical newsletter and OMG this is of interest to anyone interested in health care policy that isn’t foolish enough to think STAT News has any ability to change health care policy. 🙄

  • What if patients have low levels of adherence or improperly take the medicine and suffer a heart attack. I can’t see Aztrazeneca wanting to take the hit for those folks but I’m sure they factored that in.

  • One would think a credible news site would evaluate these pharam industry tactics, and attempts to Gas Light the American public. A credible academic institution should have evaluated this objectively, instead they will take industry funding to regurgitate this crap. Maybe their marketing research, showed that coupons were a good idea, in order to decive us about the costs of medications. The industry is looking desperate now that people are discussing producing generic drugs, instead of paying the pharma industry to do it. After all Americans paid for the research.
    This is the death throes of a dying industry presented as innovation, by a corrupt media!

    • This is a very credible news site. Ed’s article is fair-minded. He’s not opining that this is the solution to high drug prices at all. He simply reported on one deal, between one drug company and insurer that is interesting. He consulted Professor Dusetzina, who is generally critical of high drug prices, as an expert source, and she stated her opinion that this new deal is interesting.

Comments are closed.