CEO: Roche would consider more money-back deals

Roche expanded in the realm of pay-for-performance pricing with a recent deal on Avastin. If German patients don't respond, hospitals and public insurers in that country will get their money back, provided they've signed on to the agreement. Now, the company says it's open to offering similar arrangements in other countries, Reuters reports.

CEO Severin Schwan (photo) told journalists his company would consider money-back guarantees on its drugs. "If there is an interest from countries we are open to discussing such schemes," Schwan said (as quoted by the news service).

Other drugmakers have entered into similar cost-sharing agreements with payers. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) made a watershed deal with U.K. regulators on its blood cancer drug Velcade in 2007, after the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence rejected the treatment as too expensive. Merck Serono offered NICE cost-sharing on its Erbitux drug in colorectal cancer, and Roche itself proposed an incremental money-back deal on its Tarceva drug in lung cancer.

The access programs take time and resources to administer, and governments don't always save as much money as they would like. But as pricing pressures grow in Europe, more cost-sharing deals could be in the offing--if not with Roche, then with someone else.

- read the Reuters news