If money-back guarantees sweep the pharma industry, we'll all have Johnson & Johnson to thank. To get its cancer drug Velcade on the UK's National Health Service formulary, the drug maker promised to rebate the cost for patients who don't improve sufficiently after four cycles of treatment. It's the first guarantee of its kind on the NHS, experts say, and might point the way for other pharma firms looking to demonstrate a favorable cost-benefit ratio.
In J&J's case, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which accepts or rejects drugs for the NHS, had concluded that Velcade wasn't worth the $6,000-per-treatment-cycle price tag, because some patients responded poorly. The company pitched the rebate, and NICE tentatively agreed--and because no one has appealed the decision, it probably will go into effect October 24.
- see this report from CNN Money
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