Most of us are familiar with money-back food or household products. Money-back medications are now becoming standard in the pharmaceutical industry. Roche, one of the cancer laboratory leaders, introduced such a pay-for-performance program to promote its goodwill and match the changing industry practices.

This business strategy relies on real-time data processing. An online register tracks the medication effects following each doctor's consultation as well as at the beginning and end of treatment. At the end of a treatment cycle, the laboratory issues a check corresponding to the number of "inefficient cases" to the concerned national health insurance agency. The ongoing quick development of online registers and data analysts enable the spread of laboratories experimentations.

Other biotechnological companies have started implementing similar pay-for-performance programs. Close competitor Novartis believes this trend constitutes the future of the industry. Laboratories often charge a higher price in exchange of money-back agreements releasing some pressure from the thorny financial equation facing every national health insurance agency.

As stated on Le Monde, Celgene, a trailblazer on money-back medications, emphasized its benefits: "working on real-time data improves the communication with the authorities and it allows us to bolster clinical trial data."

For example, Imnovid cost £43,000 for a full treatment against specific blood cancers which can then refunded if the patients don't respond well to the treatments. Gilead follows the same principle with Sovaldi, its medicine against hepatitis C. Johnson and Johnson offers a money-back guarantee on its Velcade anti-cancer treatment. Velcade is now one of J&J top performers.

Roche closely monitors all the patients treated with Herceptin, a medicine used in breast and some types of stomach cancer treatments. After studying the drug's effects, side effects, dose, and treatment duration, Roche will be able to craft a pricing model tailored to the information extracted from the real-time data.

Most European countries don't have a national register with all the patients' data yet. Thus, the tools used with the money-back system will significantly help the doctors monitoring their patients' health and adjusting their treatments.

Money-back programs are not necessarily applicable to all medication treatments. Indeed, some laboratories refuse to negotiate such terms on the grounds that some variables impacting a treatment's success rate are too unpredictable. From the national health insurance agencies, money-back programs represent a major progress and welcome relief in a pressured economic environment. Subsequent results will confirm or deny the money-back medication trend progress. #Society