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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: August 4, 2009
CIGNA And Merck Sign Performance-Based Contract

CIGNA said that it has reached an agreement with Merck & Co. Inc. that is unique in the industry.

The agreement will benefit CIGNA customers through increased discounts on Merck’s oral anti-diabetes medications Januvia and Janumet. These drugs are used in conjunction with diet and exercise to improve glycemic (blood sugar) control in adults with type 2 diabetes, a condition that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.

"Merck should be recognized as the first major pharmaceutical company to offer increased discounts on its oral anti-diabetic products, supporting CIGNA’s efforts to reduce A1C levels for individuals with diabetes, regardless of what medication they may be taking," said Eric Elliott, president of CIGNA pharmacy management.

CIGNA will review available A1C lab values for people taking any oral anti-diabetic medications, and, if at the end of the year, A1C values have improved, the discounts Merck offers on Januvia and Janumet will increase. In an effort to help improve medication adherence, CIGNA will also review claims data for individuals with CIGNA pharmacy benefits who are on Januvia or Janumet during that same time period to determine if these individuals are taking the medications as prescribed by their physicians. If they are, Merck will increase the discounts it offers CIGNA on these medications even more.

These savings can be shared in various ways with CIGNA’s customers. CIGNA said it encouraged its customers to adopt medication adherence programs as an effective way to improve health and lower healthcare costs.

"This alignment is exactly the kind of innovation that supports the ultimate goal of better health for the patient. Our primary goal should be aligning incentives so that the result is a healthier individual. We applaud CIGNA and Merck, and we look for increasing evidence that this kind of thinking can improve the health of our families, our businesses and our communities," said Cyndy Nayer, president and CEO of the Center for Health Value Innovation.

CIGNA has programs that help individuals take their medications appropriately to stop the progression of their diabetes, which can result in heart or kidney failure, amputations or blindness. CIGNA’s programs are designed to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits or hospitalizations by providing cost-effective access to appropriate medications. Elliott said that this agreement with Merck provided added incentive to help reduce blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes.

"This performance-based contract is a very good first step to linking discounts with improved medication adherence and reduction of A1C levels for individuals with type 2 diabetes. It complements other CIGNA initiatives, such as the Save with Generics and Diabetes Outcome Improvement Programs, which aim to reduce cost and improve outcomes for people with diabetes," said Lisa Zeitel, a principal at Buck Consultants, an ACS company.

CIGNA offers a range of other programs to help people who have diabetes stay as healthy as possible. The company offers health and wellness online tools including the Prescription Drug Price Comparison tool to help individuals take their medications appropriately. The programs help identify barriers to taking medications, such as side effects or cost, and help people overcome those barriers so they are more likely to stay on their needed medications.

Addresses: CIGNA Two Liberty Plaza, 1601 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19192; (215) 761-1000, Merck & Co. Inc., One Merck Drive, PO Box 100, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889; (908) 423-1000,

  This article was taken from:
Pay-For-Performance Reporter

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