Learn about what America’s biopharmaceutical companies are doing to ensure we can continue to afford innovation by reading the story of David Cobden, Ph.D., who works to pursue new payment models for a variety of cutting-edge treatments.
With an extensive background in health policy – including master’s degrees from Georgetown, Cornell and Dartmouth Universities – David Cobden, Ph.D., is an expert health economist and member of AstraZeneca’s market access team. His career in the industry spans nearly 15 years, and today he leads a team of medical professionals and scientists who regularly engage with insurers and policymakers to ensure patient access, driven by the clinical value delivered by AstraZeneca’s medicines.
Lately, Dr. Cobden has focused on value-based payments. These voluntary, private arrangements include value-based agreements, including performance-based contracts that link payment to the outcome provided to patients. According to a recent analysis, in the past two years, commercially insured patients in health plans with value-based contracts for diabetes, high cholesterol and HIV medicines had copays that were, on average, 28 percent lower for those medicines compared to patients in other plans.
“I believe that at the end of the day, these types of innovative agreements improve patient lives by increasing access to medicines,” Dr. Cobden says.
The Driving Force
Every decision Cobden makes starts with the patient in mind.
“Our team is focused on what we can do to help improve patient lives,” he says, noting that he feels fortunate to work for a company that is leading in industry by actively pursuing value-based arrangements and other inventive payment models.
“AstraZeneca has now entered into more than 35 agreements across cardiovascular, diabetes, oncology and respiratory treatment areas,” Dr. Cobden says. “We’re continuously learning, and we’re trying to get better with each agreement.”
Challenges, Chance and Looking Forward
Like many people who work in health care, Dr. Cobden says he is fascinated by the immense progress that has recently been achieved in terms of our ability to treat and prevent disease.
“What excites me most about the future is the ability for new science to turn previous death sentences into chronic conditions that can be managed over the normal lifespan of a patient – for patients who otherwise wouldn’t have a ‘normal’ lifespan,” he says.
In his role specifically, he is the first to admit that challenges remain in the way the health care system pays for medicines; however, he looks forward to tackling them head on.
“My hope is that I can do my part, AstraZeneca can do its part and everybody else can do their part to make sure that we’re having the right discussions about how to keep improving patient lives,” he says.