- Aetna and Merck have entered a partnership aimed at improving outcomes for patients with diabetes.
- The value-based agreement will deliver rebates for the Merck type 2 diabetes medications Januvia and Janumet and be based on their ability to help patients covered by Aetna’s commercial plans to achieve or maintain treatment objectives.
- Merck will also be the first company participating in Aetna's initiative AetnaCare, which will at first target diabetics and patients with hypertension in Mid-Atlantic markets using predictive analytics.
The partnership between Aetna and Merck is not the first between a payer and a pharmaceutical company to deliver rebates based on the efficacy of a drug. In February, Reuters reported Cigna and Novartis had entered an agreement on value-based pricing for the heart drug Entresto. Last year, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that UnitedHealth had struck a value-based payment agreement for heapatitis C drugs and that Humana had more than a dozen of these types of agreements.
As for AetnaCare, the initiative is aimed at identifying patients at risk for certain conditions at an early stage for the purpose of developing individualized care maps. Merck will be relied upon to develop educational material and to improve patient engagement and treatment adherence.
Diabetes is a costly condition for the healthcare system and providing diabetes treatment got more expensive in 2014. Other initiatives, such as the partnership between IBM and the American Diabetes Association, are using cognitive computing to improve diabetes care. Big data has the ability of improving providers and diabetics' management of the condition and the variation in physician ordering behavior.