Pfizer cancer drug now comes with a warranty

Oct. 14, 2021

With the pressure on pharma companies to respond to drug price concerns, Pfizer has announced a program that refunds patients who don’t improve on a cancer drug.

Called the Pfizer Pledge Warranty Program, the approach was developed for Xalkori, which has been approved for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors are anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) or ROS1-positive.

The details of Pfizer’s plan read similar to a warranty for a household appliance. Naturally, terms and conditions apply and in order for Xalkori patients to be eligible for the warranty, the drug will have to have been discontinued “for clinical reasons” within the first three months of use. If that ends up being the case, patients can then submit a claims form to have their out-of-pocket costs refunded.  

“The Pfizer Pledge Warranty Program is available to cash, commercial (those with employer-sponsored or private insurance), and Medicare Part D patients who discontinue XALKORI before the fourth 30-day supply is dispensed,” the company explained. 

Outcomes-based contracts are not a completely novel idea in pharma — but they have been implemented sparingly and remain controversial. Health care analysts have pointed out that there is little evidence that these kinds of contracts lower the overall pharma spend for American consumers. Not only that, some have argued that they increase costs by giving pharma companies an excuse to raise the price of certain drugs.