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May 31, 2005 |

The concept of a money-back guarantee has been around for a long time and has worked with respect to all types of consumer products. Now, the idea of getting a refund for a product that does not perform as advertised is gaining momentum. Professor Claus Moldrup of the Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Copenhagen believes that such a system would be a benefit to both patients and manufacturers.

Presently, a high percentage of prescription drugs do not have the desired effect when prescribed to various individuals. The reasons for this include genetic factors, interactions with other drugs, or the drug may not be the correct choice. Speaking in the British Medical Journal, Professor Moldrup stated that: "A no cure, no pay strategy creates a win-win situation for the authorities as well as the drug industry, and thus the patients, because in a competitive environment only the best drugs will win." Although a few companies, like Novartis, Eli Lilly, and Bayer have incorporated the idea into promotional campaigns for specific drugs, the industry as a whole has been slow to embrace the concept. In fact, only eight such promotions have been offered in the past ten years. It is hoped that stiffer competition, greater scrutiny by the FDA, the move by the government to control healthcare costs, and doctors being more reluctant to be influenced by sales pitches will cause a shift in favor of refunds.

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