The manufacturer of a major drug for multiple sclerosis has given what appears to be a money-back guarantee that its product will prevent severe relapses when used as directed.

Bayer HealthCare, maker of the Betaseron brand of interferon-beta-1b, has entered into a contract with Illinois-based Health Alliance Medical Plans (HAMP) agreeing to reimburse the insurer for hospitalization costs incurred by member patients who experience severe relapses while taking the drug according to prescribed directions.

Sounds like a promotional gimmick, to me.

Obviously we know no DMD purports to eliminate relapses altogether, or to guarantee they won't ever be serious.

But, by promising to reimburse the insurer for any that are serious, the manufacturer makes it a much more attractive proposition for the insurer to endorse this product.

They must have done the maths, and worked out the increased revenue from selling more of the stuff more than offsets the occasional hospitalization costs, in cases where it didn't work.

I note it only says "hospitalization", not "ALL relapses".  What proportion of relapses result in hospitalization anyway?

Presumably, if you just have an "average" relapse, that doesn't require hospitalization, the insurer doesn't get any reimbursement.


Monty, what’s the point of this and how is it relevant to the NHS? It doesn’t actually say anything about the drug.

And I’ve been telling you for years that Betaferon works - you just didn’t believe me!!

Read it properly Monty!

It isn't a money back guarante at all. It is simply a shared risk plan between a major health insurer and a pharmaceuticsl compnay. All it is saying is that if someone on Betaseron has a relpase severe enough to necessitiate hospialisation then Bayer will reimbures the health fund the costs. It is not making any claims at all about  it preventing severe relapses. It is just setting up a different framework to ensure people with MS can afford treatment. Don't forget, America does not have a National Health Service and relies far more heavily on arrangements like this to make disease management affordable to more people.

I actually think this is a great initiative but I am very glad I live in a country where my health care is assured through  legislation rather than philanthropy.


No need to sensationalise and try ad put negative spin on a story just because it involves a big pharma company!