What is Affordability at AstraZeneca?
The company’s position, policy and performance on the pricing of medicines, including tiered pricing, differential pricing, capped pricing, early access programmes, Patient Assistance Programmes, royalty-free licensing, pricing transparency, reimbursement strategy, and commercialisation, strategy, availability and registration.
With health at the heart of our business, we are making changes to address affordability to help ensure our medicines are accessible. The price of our medicines is therefore designed to ensure the financial sustainability of healthcare systems and our research-led business model. Our methodology helps us understand the cost of treatment and level of affordability including when patients have to pay for their own medicines. We make our medicines more affordable through:
- Patient Assistance Programmes tailored to each market that can make our medicines available through donation
- Patient access programmes that coordinate with health systems to deliver medicines at lower out-of-pocket costs for the patient (see Investments in health systems here)
- Our tiered pricing strategy, which considers ability to pay based on GDP
Supporting patient access through Innovative Value Strategies
We want to ensure the prices paid for our medicines reflect the actual health benefits patients are receiving. A medicine may or may not be effective for every patient and through Innovative Value Strategies (IVS), we are building new models to make ourselves accountable and ensure patients are truly benefiting from our products.
What is an Innovative Value Strategy? Any agreement that reduces uncertainty of payers (economic or clinical) where access, reimbursement or price is linked to real world clinical benefit or other agreed terms.
We are investing in IVS working by with partners to collect the data for our medicines that allow us to measure and demonstrate their real-world value. We are working with key stakeholders to shape policies that promote the implementation of these sorts of agreements. We have entered into 61 IVS agreements across our three main. therapy areas.
Patient assistance and access
At AstraZeneca, we have offered affordability programmes to patients for more than 35 years. These programmes are available to patients who meet the eligibility requirements and are designed to remove barriers to access and reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket costs. These programmes can offer free and/or discounted product.
Our largest patient assistance programme is AZ&Me in the US, which provides eligible patients with AstraZeneca medicines at no cost. We have a variety of patient access programmes in Emerging Markets, each tailored to meet the needs of the local community. These include patient assistance programmes, such as Terapia Plus in Ukraine, Karta Zdorovia in Russia and FazBem in Brazil which offer products at a discounted cost.
We are also aiming to enable our Emerging Markets to deliver better and broader patient access through innovative and targeted equitable pricing strategies and practices. By way of example of our approach, we apply Tiered Pricing Principles globally.
Health Economic Analysis in Italy and Ireland
AstraZeneca demonstrates the added benefit that a new drug offers patients through health economics (HE) analysis. All HE analyses are conducted in partnership with universities and scientific societies. For exmaple, in Italy we've shown the cost-effectiveness of a preventive testing strategy in patients with BRCA mutated ovariancancer’s relatives versus a no testing strategy. The evaluation showed how it is cost-effective to include a BRCA test for patients and family of those with a family history of breast/ovarian cancer.
AstraZeneca participates fully in the industry association agreement on the supply and pricing of medicines, committing to:
- no price increases
- upon patent expiry, reduction to 50% of the original ex-factory price
- 5.5% rebate on all public reimbursement schemes among other initiatives
These commitments have led to savings of millions annually, making a considerable contribution to the affordability of medicines in Ireland and freeing up funding to treat more patients. In addition, AstraZeneca is currently delivering material net pricing discounts to support the affordability of new high cost medicines in key therapy areas.