AstraZeneca puts Brilinta, Bydureon on pay-for-performance bandwagon with Harvard Pilgrim deals

Pay-for-performance deals have been gaining popularity among drugmakers eager to snag payer favor for their meds, and Harvard Pilgrim has been ready and willing to strike up partnerships. The latest to join hands with the PBM? AstraZeneca.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts company announced it had inked two outcomes-based contracts with the British drugmaker: one for blood thinner Brilinta and one for diabetes med Bydureon, both of which haven’t lived up to sales expectations lately.

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Under the three-year Brilinta pact, Harvard Pilgrim will be watching how much Brilinta can cut down the number of hospitalizations acute coronary symptom patients experience after their first discharge—and measuring whether Brilinta can pare down that tally better than another oral antiplatelet can.

And under the Bydureon agreement, Harvard Pilgrim will evaluate how well the product helps adherent patients reached their predetermined HbA1c goals.

If the pair of meds can’t hit the performance standards AZ’s agreed to, Harvard Pilgrim will see its bill shrink. And the way Harvard Pilgrim Chief Medical Officer Michael Sherman, M.D., sees it, “the willingness of pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca to go at risk for delivering on these outcomes sends a positive message to health plans, prescribing physicians, and patients.”

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AZ isn’t alone in that willingness, either. Earlier this month, Amgen signed off on a new money-back guarantee with Harvard Pilgrim, pledging that if any patient using its PCSK9 cholesterol med Repatha has a heart attack or stroke, the biotech will provide a full refund. Harvard Pilgrim also has arrangements with drugmakers including Eli Lilly and Novartis that cover diabetes treatment Trulicity and heart failure therapy Entresto, respectively.

Meanwhile, both Brilinta and Bydureon are part of an AZ portfolio that hasn’t been doing as much as analysts expected to aid in the struggling drugmaker’s sales turnaround. Bydureon missed forecasts in last year’s fourth quarter, while Brilinta posted first-quarter performance that didn’t meet consensus estimates.