Should U.S. pursue cost-sharing deals?

Should the U.S. turn to U.K.-style drug deals? That's what Motley Fool asks today. Drugmakers have been forging some innovative cost-sharing arrangements to get their pricier meds approved by the U.K.'s National Institute for Clinical Excellence. When NICE refused to put Johnson & Johnson's cancer med Velcade on the NHS formulary, for instance, J&J came back with an offer to charge the health service only for patients who responded to the drug.

That was the first of several such deals. Since then, Roche made an arrangement to foot part of the bill for its cancer treatment Tarceva, to make the cost more competitive with Sanofi-Aventis' Taxotere. And Pfizer's Sutent became the only one of four kidney cancer meds to get NICE approval, based on the company's pledge to pay for the first round of treatment. 

Why shouldn't the U.S. look to do the same? The Fool says it's something of a slippery slope that could lead to denial of care. Despite a cost-sharing offer, NICE still hasn't let GlaxoSmithKline's Tyverb onto the NHS breast-cancer formulary. But the Fool also notes that the U.S. already does have care-rationing, based on ability to pay. And insurers make decisions about which drugs to cover all the time; that's what formularies are for. So, who's for cost-sharing? Let us know what you think.

- see the Motley Fool piece

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