Novartis AG may offer a bundle of health-care services alongside its promising new heart-failure drug to win over increasingly cost-conscious insurers.
In a dramatic case of cost-benefit dilemma, Swiss drug-maker Novartis AG is currently muddling over how it will introduce a possibly life-saving drug, which happens to cost over 10 times that of commonly prescribed medications for the condition it treats.
The newly approved drug, Entresto, promises to reduce the hospitalization and mortality rates of potentially thousands of patients suffering from heart failure. Doctors and insurers are applauding it as a potential life-saver.
In the short-term, however, the heart-stopping price tag of $12.50 per day per patient, versus under a dollar for currently prescribed meds, puts into question the drug’s marketability.
Your vitals, over the Web
Rather than lowering the price, Novartis executives are considering upping Entresto’s value proposition by offering add-on services for patients using the drug. One of those services is the use of remote patient monitors, supplied by Novartis, which could alert doctors of health issues in patients without requiring an office visit. Devices connected to the Internet could keep tabs on weight, blood-pressure and blood-oxygen levels of patients.
Better patient monitoring may bring down hospitalization costs even further, a boon to insurers.
Features and benefits
Packaging complementary services with expensive drugs is seen as a growing trend in the pharmaceutical industry, as drug-makers like Novartis aim to justify their high prices, and is taking them into areas outside the conventional roles of drug discovery, licensing and marketing.
Whether your insurance company buys into this concept will come down to dollars and cents, weighing the ultimate reduction in the cost of treatment versus the cost of the drug, itself. Only time will tell if insurers can “profit from the experience” so that patients can live better and longer.
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Edited by: Clifford S. Yurman