Using Data From Routine Care to Estimate the Effectiveness and Potential Limitations of Outcomes-Based Contracts for Diabetes Medications



Outcomes-based contracts tie rebates and discounts for expensive drugs to outcomes. The objective was to estimate the utility of outcomes-based contracts for diabetes medications using real-world data and to identify methodologic limitations of this approach.


A population-based cohort study of adults newly prescribed a medication for diabetes with a publicly announced outcomes-based contract (ie, exenatide microspheres [“exenatide”], dulaglutide, or sitagliptin) was conducted. The comparison group included patients receiving canagliflozin or glipizide. The primary outcome was announced in the outcomes-based contract: the percentage of adults with a follow-up hemoglobin A1C 8% up to 1 year later. Secondary outcomes included the percentage of patients diagnosed with hypoglycemia and the cost of a 1-month supply.


Thousands of adults newly filled prescriptions for exenatide (n = 5079), dulaglutide (n = 6966), sitagliptin (n = 40 752), canagliflozin (n = 16 404), or glipizide (n = 59 985). The percentage of adults subsequently achieving a hemoglobin A1C below 8% ranged from 83% (dulaglutide, sitagliptin) to 71% (canagliflozin). The rate of hypoglycemia was 25 per 1000 person-years for exenatide, 37 per 1000 person-years for dulaglutide, 28 per 1000 person-years for sitagliptin, 18 per 1000 person-years for canagliflozin, and 34 per 1000 person-years for glipizide. The cash price for a 1-month supply was $847 for exenatide, $859 for dulaglutide, $550 for sitagliptin, $608 for canagliflozin, and $14 for glipizide.


Outcomes-based pricing of diabetes medications has the potential to lower the cost of medications, but using outcomes such as hemoglobin A1C may not be clinically meaningful because similar changes in A1C can be achieved with generic medications at a far lower cost.


Michael Fralick Joshua J. Gagne Elisabetta Patorno Raisa Levin Aaron S. Kesselheim

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