Insights & Articles


Value-based drug agreements are easier when drug manufacturers and payers follow FDA communication guidelines

When pharmaceutical manufacturers share clinical and economic data about their products in the pipeline, payers can prepare their budgets and formularies to launch value-based drug pricing arrangements as soon as a new treatment receives FDA approval. Pre-approval data sharing between manufacturers and payers gives patients quicker access to newly approved treatments.


As the healthcare system in the U.S. continues its transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, the sharing of healthcare economic information (HCEI) is becoming increasingly important to pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare payers seeking to enter value-based drug pricing arrangements.

In the past, drug manufacturers were hesitant to share HCEI and other pre-approval information with payers because regulations were unclear about the legal limits of this type of communication. But payers want HCEI from drug manufacturers for planning, formulary design, budgeting, and purchasing decisions. And lawmakers want to eliminate legislative barriers that inhibit the sharing of HCEI and the increased adoption of value-based healthcare.

The history of legislation surrounding manufacturer/payer communications

Policymakers and regulators, like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recognize the importance of big data and the sharing of HCEI for promoting value-based payment arrangements. Their first attempts to remove the legislative barriers to the exchange of HCEI between drug and device manufacturers and population healthcare managers did not produce the desired effects.

The first U.S. federal consumer protection law, the Food and Drugs Act, was enacted in 1906. This law’s consumer protections and law enforcement capabilities were strengthened by the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C). Section 502(a) of the FD&C introduced and defined HCEI, giving the pharmaceutical industry their first instructions about what kind of economic data promotion could be communicated and with whom. But manufacturers refused to share information, fearing the penalties of accidentally disseminating off-label information.

Section 114 of the FDA Modernization Act (FDAMA) of 1997, amended FD&C Section 502(a) and provided a safe harbor for HCEI sharing. But manufacturers continued to resist sharing economic data because they felt the guidelines were still too vague about some topics, such as the definition of reliable scientific evidence and who was authorized to receive HCEI. The FDA failed to issue guidance on how to interpret the law.

The industry-wide push towards value-based care after the Affordable Care Act passed made clarification of Section 114 a priority again. In 2016, policymakers issued clarifying guidance about communications and transparency of HCEI, both pre- and post- FDA approval. The 21st Century Cures Act, Section 3037 further defined what types of HCEI and analyses could be used for drug promotion and to whom the HCEI should be communicated. The FDA published a draft payer guidance document in 2017 and then final guidance documents in 2018 suggesting ways to operationalize communications between pharmaceutical manufacturers and payers.

Current FDA guidance

An FDA press statement from June 2018 emphasizes that the 2018 guidance documents are meant to help pharmaceutical manufacturers provide payers with truthful, non-misleading background and contextual information about their products. Furthermore, manufacturers are encouraged to share both clinical data and HCEI payers need to make informed decisions about formulary management, cost effectiveness and reimbursement; this may be more and different data than the safety and efficacy data submitted by the manufacturer to the FDA for drug approval decisions.

The guidance, Drug and Device Manufacturer Communications with Payors, Formulary Committees, and Similar Entities–Questions and Answers, expands upon the sources of scientific evidence for HCEI as defined under Section 502(a). And the guidance clarifies who can receive HCEI, including public and private sector payers, formulary committees, technology assessment panels, third-party administrators, and other multidisciplinary parties.

This first guidance also addresses manufacturers’ communications with payers regarding unapproved uses of FDA-approved products. The FDA does not object to the sharing of this type of information as long as the manufacturer makes it abundantly clear in its communications what uses the product is not approved for.

The second guidance introduced in the FDA press statement is titled Medical Product Communications That Are Consistent With FDA-Required Labeling–Questions and Answers. It pertains to information not included in a drug’s labeling but information that a manufacturer may want to share with payers. Examples can include data from pre- and post-market studies or surveillance of patient compliance that can affect the measurement of a drug’s benefits to health outcomes in value-based contracts. (The first guidance offers safe harbor for communications related to the negotiations or implementation of value-based drug pricing agreements.)

Timing of information exchanges

Payers prefer to receive information regularly from manufacturers during the latter part of the FDA drug approval process. Annual budgets and formulary planning are more difficult to forecast if payers don’t have data in advance to prepare for the coverage of a new drug. Payers are more likely to make a newly approved treatment available to patients without delay when manufacturers share the clinical data and HCEI needed to make formulary and pricing decisions during pre-approval.

Under the FDA’s accelerated approval process, therapies sometimes become available to patients even before the publication of clinical trial data is complete. Payers say, ideally, they would like clinical and HCEI data about new products 12 to 18 months before the projected FDA approval date.

Many manufacturers wait to begin communications with payers until just 6 to 12 months before their product’s expected approval date. Recognizing the importance of HCEI in negotiating value-based drug pricing arrangements, some manufacturers have included HCEI in their FDA product dossier and promotional materials for payers.

The FDA guidance recommends increased transparency about cost data, including price range, price parity with competitors, price premiums, discounts, and inflation adjustments. Some manufacturers and payers prefer to wait for final clinical trial data before discussing pricing. Post-approval data-sharing of real-world evidence must continue between manufacturers and payers to implement value-based drug pricing agreements.

The Lyfegen solution

With most regulatory barriers removed and value-based contract communications exempted from FDA reporting, policymakers hope to see an increase in value-based drug pricing arrangements. Manufacturers and payers can partner with third-party vendors like Lyfegen to employ technology that facilitates easy, continued data-sharing for innovative pricing agreements.

Lyfegen is an independent, global analytics company that offers a value-based contracting platform for healthcare insurances, pharma, and medtech companies wanting to implement value-based drug pricing arrangements with greater efficiency and transparency. The Lyfegen Platform collects real-world data and uses intelligent algorithms to provide valuable information about drug performance and cost.

By enabling the shift away from volume-based and fee-for-service healthcare to value-based healthcare, Lyfegen increases access to healthcare treatments and their affordability.

To learn more about our services and the Lyfegen Platform, book a demo.


Related blogs

The Health and Social Consortium of Catalonia to Develop New Value-Based Purchasing Models Incorporating New Tools for Negotiation with the Pharmaceutical Industry


The Health and Social Consortium of Catalonia to Develop New Value-Based Purchasing Models Incorporating New Tools for Negotiation with the Pharmaceutical Industry

Barcelona, April 9, 2024
The Consortium of Health and Social Services of Catalonia has begun to work on value-based drug purchasing models by incorporating new tools for information management and negotiation with the pharmaceutical industry. This is an innovative project in collaboration with the health technology brand Lyfegen, which has developed the largest platform for managing public agreements in the world and a drug contracting simulator that allows for better deals by maximizing value in the purchasing process.

The goal of this innovative initiative is to increase the processes of value-based drug procurement, allowing CSC-affiliated health centers to focus on the evaluation of the clinical, economic, and social benefits that the drug can provide in relation to its cost.

For the design of these new procurement models, the "Lyfegen Agreements Library" database and the “Lyfegen Drug Contracting Simulator” were used, and work was done on the automation of administrative tasks and on improving interoperability among hospitals and health administrations. These tools allow the CSC to model various agreements and improve the drug management process in the central contracting office. The Health and Social Consortium of Catalonia thus becomes the first organization in Spain to incorporate these tools.

"From the Consortium, we are convinced that access to innovation and the sustainability of the health system relies on reaching innovative management agreements with pharmaceutical laboratories," says Josep Maria Guiu, director of the Pharmacy and Medication Area of the CSC. "The alliance with Lyfegen gives us a tool to work in this direction and to advance in the establishment of satisfactory agreements that facilitate access to innovation and contribute to the sustainability of the health system."

Girisha Fernando, CEO of Lyfegen, comments that "We are proud to help the Consortium lead access to innovation to improve patient care in Catalonia." "By using our advanced solutions, more than 100 health organizations throughout the region can research, model, and efficiently manage agreements, as well as value-based drug procurement," he adds.

“This allows professionals to really focus on what matters most: patient care.”

The collaboration with Lyfegen reflects the commitment of the Health and Social Consortium of Catalonia to value-based drug procurement and to access to pharmacological innovation, as well as the will to continue working for the implementation of solutions that ensure equity and sustainability of the health system.

The total contracting volume of the CSC, which acts as the purchasing center for the subsidized health sector of Catalonia, was 1.497 billion euros in 2023. Of this amount, 90% corresponded to medicines and 10% to sanitary products.

In recent years, the Consortium of Health and Social Services of Catalonia has incorporated social value aspects into the purchasing processes. For example, it has committed to ensuring that 100% of its drug and sanitary product tenders incorporate environmental clauses by 2024.

About Lyfegen

Lyfegen is an independent provider of rebate management software designed for the healthcare industry. Lyfegen solutions are used by health insurances, governments, hospital payers, and pharmaceutical companies around the globe to dramatically reduce the administrative burden of managing complex drug pricing agreements and to optimize rebates and get better value from those agreements. Lyfegen maintains the world’s largest digital repository of innovative drug pricing models and public agreements and offers access to a robust drug pricing simulator designed to dynamically simulate complex drug pricing scenarios to understand full financial impact. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, the company was founded in 2018 and has a market presence in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Learn more at


The Consortium of Health and Social of Catalonia (CSC) is a public entity with a local and associative basis, founded in 1983, which has its origin in the municipal movement. The CSC, a reference to the sector and with a clear vocation for service, has as a mission: to promote excellent and sustainable health and social models to improve the quality of life of the people, offering services of high added value to its partners. CSC wants to be the main reference for knowledge and capacity for cooperation, influence and anticipation in the face of the new challenges of the health and social system. All CSC associates are public or private non-profit bodies. For more information, please visit

Read More

Do drug companies really want more competition? Value-based purchasing puts them to the test


Do drug companies really want more competition? Value-based purchasing puts them to the test

Pharma says they want greater competition within the industry and more incentives for pharmaceutical innovation; value-based purchasing agreements can provide both.

Value-based purchasing arrangements first appeared in the European markets in the 1990s, while U.S. healthcare markets did little with value-based contracts for pharmaceuticals until the 2000s. The high cost of new drugs coming to market, large annual increases in existing drug prices, and political pressure from lawmakers on payers to address the high cost of healthcare have encouraged stakeholders to make greater use of value-based purchasing arrangements.

It’s easy to understand the appeal of value-based purchasing agreements for private and public payers. Value-based purchasing is one way both U.S. and European payers are using to reduce overall healthcare spending.

For drug companies, value-based purchasing puts an end to their unencumbered pricing strategy. But pharmaceutical manufacturers realize value-based purchasing agreements are the best way, and maybe the only way, to get their new, higher-priced products covered by payers and into the treatment plans of patients.

How do pharmaceutical companies determine their drug prices?

Pharmaceutical companies are in business to generate as much revenue as possible without jeopardizing patients’ access to their treatments. In the U.S., where drug pricing is unregulated, pharmaceutical manufacturers can charge any price they want for their products. In the EU, member states use regulations such as direct control over pricing, referencing the average price of a drug among all EU members to set a national price, or regulating the drug manufacturers’ profit.

When deciding on a new drug’s retail price, the manufacturer considers several areas of concern such as the drug’s competition, government-granted exclusivity, patents in force, and a drug’s clinical effectiveness and benefit to patient outcomes.

Pricing a drug incorrectly can have severe consequences for the manufacturer’s bottom line. Private and public payers in the U.S. have ways of restricting patients’ access to drugs that they consider overpriced. In European countries, drug manufacturers risk being fined by authorities for unfair prices and excessive price hikes.

Value-based purchasing promotes competition in the pharmaceutical market

In the U.S., there are economic policies and legal loopholes that manipulate competition in the drug industry. The Biden administration considers this one of the key problems to address to support drug pricing reform. The president’s Executive Order 14036, the Competition Executive Order, calls for increased transparency, innovation, and competition.

Even though manufacturers take advantage of U.S. government protections that create temporary monopolies for some drugs, the large industry trade group PhRMA has joined the call for reforms that fix the current distortions in the market that stifle competition.

Manufacturers producing new drugs with in-class competition from other manufacturers—such as generics, biosimilars, or new uses or combinations of older drugs—use the real-world evidence gathered from value-based purchasing agreements to demonstrate the greater clinical value of their treatments compared to their competitors’ products. Data that show a drug’s uniqueness and effectiveness may be used to justify a manufacturer’s higher-than-average price.

In addition, manufacturers hope aligning a drug’s price to its clinical value will shift payers’ focus away from approving treatments based solely on the lowest price to covering similar treatments that might be more expensive but produce better health outcomes for patients.

Value-based purchasing incentivizes research and development (R&D) of new drugs

The post-market clinical data gathered under value-based purchasing can facilitate data-driven drug development. For example, the drug company Novartis published a position paper in which they stated they use real-world evidence to support the development of customized interventions and to invest in research in areas of the highest value for patients.

In the in recent years, the number of clinical trials and an overall increase in spending on brand-name prescription drugs suggest that pharmaceutical manufacturers have been concentrating their research and development dollars on new high-cost specialty drugs for complex, chronic, or rare conditions they expect will be the most profitable.

New treatments like these, where the drug’s value is yet to be established for payers, are good candidates for value-based purchasing arrangements. The successful implementation of value-based purchasing contracts—with better health outcomes for patients, cost controls for payers, and fair prices for manufacturers—encourages even more data-driven drug development.

The Lyfegen Platform

Value-based purchasing agreements are a complex but necessary part of doing business for pharmaceutical manufacturers. They provide a framework for assessing a drug’s value using shared outcome measures and provide real-world evidence of the benefits of their products for patient health outcomes. Manufacturers who are unwilling to enter into value-based purchasing contracts with payers may find themselves at a disadvantage in negotiations with other stakeholders.

Lyfegen’s software platform helps healthcare insurances, pharma, and medtech companies implement and scale value-based purchasing contracts with greater efficiency and transparency. The Lyfegen Platform collects real-world data and uses intelligent algorithms to provide valuable insights on drug performance and cost in value-based contracts. By enabling the shift away from volume-based and fee-for-service healthcare to value-based healthcare, Lyfegen increases access to healthcare treatments and their affordability.


Value-based purchasing arrangements first appeared in the European markets in the 1990s, while U.S. healthcare markets did little with va...

Read More