Press Releases

Monday, September 21, 2020

Highmark, AstraZeneca Enter Outcomes-Based Agreement for Severe Asthma Medication Fasenra

Deal advances Highmark’s commitment to ensuring members have access to affordable, highly effective prescription medications

PITTSBURGH (September 21, 2020) — Highmark announced that it has entered an outcomes-based agreement with AstraZeneca for Fasenra, an add-on prescription maintenance treatment for patients age 12 or older with severe asthma. Approximately 500 Highmark members utilize the healthcare professional administered formulation of Fasenra. This agreement monitors commercial and Medicare members.

Through outcomes-based agreements, drug companies are accountable for the clinical effectiveness of medications. As part of the agreement, Highmark is measuring members that stay on treatment signaling the treatment is working and the member’s health is improving.

“Highmark is committed to ensuring that our members have access to the most clinically effective, cost-efficient medications possible,” says Sarah Marchè, senior VP of pharmacy services for Highmark. “Outcomes-based agreements are an important component of realizing that goal, and AstraZeneca is a proven partner in this space.”

Previously, Highmark and AstraZeneca reached an outcomes-based agreement for the asthma and COPD medication SYMBICORT—one of the first outcomes-based agreements in the U.S. for the treatment of those chronic respiratory conditions. In 2019, Highmark announced that its contract with AstraZeneca for SYMBICORT demonstrated positive results in improving health outcomes, including through the majority of patients on the medication experiencing a stabilization or improvement of their symptoms.

More than 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Each year, this chronic respiratory disease accounts for more than $50 billion in direct medical costs, and more than $3 billion in costs related to missed work and school days, per the AAFA.

This value-based contract with AstraZeneca for Fasenra continues Highmark's streak of designing and implementing outcomes-based agreements for pharmaceutical and biological products that focus on improved health outcomes for members and ensuring the medications that they are using are working for them. Highmark previously entered into value-based contracts for the treatment of several other chronic, high-cost health conditions, including diabetes, autoimmune diseases, asthma and COPD. 

About Highmark Inc.

One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of more than 5.6 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:

Leilyn Perri
Highmark Health

David Golebiewski
Highmark Health