“But wait, there’s more”

Order now and we’ll ship you the Thighmaster…and if you’re not satisfied, just return it within 14 days for a full refund. Money-back guarantees are almost a necessity for TV products, but what about for medications? Certainly not the norm, there have been some value-based contracts popping up in the pharma world. There’s a very interesting Forbes article written by former Pfizer global R&D President John LaMattina that lobbies for two major trade organizations (BIO and PhRMA) to pass resolutions that money-back guarantees become a formal practice with member companies. Wow, that would Shake Weight things up. LaMattina points to Amgen’s Repatha (LDL-C lowering) and Novartis’ new gene therapy Kymriah (CAR-T therapy), priced at $475,000/patient. Keep this on your radar, few things could change the healthcare landscape like widespread adoption of value-based pricing.

LDL, PCSK9 and the billion-dollar clinical trial

It will take more than $1 billion dollars for Amgen to determine whether their PCSK9 inhibitor (Repatha) is worth the money (list price = $14,523 per year). PCSK9 inhibitors have been hailed as a way to help people at risk of cardiac events lower their LDL levels. In a clinical trial with ~27,000 patients, Repatha worked, lowering LDL levels. Great, but Amgen’s stock dropped 6% when the results were released. Why? While LDL decreased, the reduction in cardiac events was mild. The math: 50 patients would have to be treated for 3 years to prevent 1 heart attack/stroke/death. BTW, 50 people at $14,523 per year for 3 years = ~$2.2 million to prevent 1 heart attack/stroke/death. May the odds be ever in your favor.