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Bayer HealthCare and Health Alliance Medical Plans Enter Outcomes-based Agreement
Date:12/6/2011

WAYNE, N.J. and URBANA, Ill., Dec. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer HealthCare and Health Alliance Medical Plans have entered into an outcomes-based contract for people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) who are taking Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b) to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations.  The agreement is the first of this type for Bayer HealthCare in the U.S. and is defined by relapses requiring hospitalizations for Betaseron patients covered by Health Alliance. 

"Bayer continually identifies and implements innovative means of supporting our patients," said Alex Santini, Vice President, Managed Markets, Bayer HealthCare.  "This agreement reinforces our commitment to people taking Betaseron and demonstrates our belief that when patients are adherent to their treatment plan, there may be a greater chance for positive outcomes by reducing clinical exacerbations."

Both companies are committed to providing support to people taking Betaseron.  Bayer's patient support program, BETAPLUS®, is designed to help patients get started successfully on Betaseron and remain on their treatment plan.  It provides round-the-clock nurse assistance and access specialists who answer insurance-related questions, among other services.  Health Alliance emphasizes wellness, education and prevention and has assembled networks of the best healthcare professionals.  The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has awarded Health Alliance its highest accreditation for its HMO, POS and Medicare HMO products since 1997.

"Today's healthcare environment calls for new ways to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs associated with disease management," said Robert Parker, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Health Alliance.  "This agreement represents the best efforts of Bayer and Health Alliance to address the needs of patients while taking into account economic realities."

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

BETASERON® (interferon beta-1b) is indicated for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations. Patients with multiple sclerosis in whom efficacy has been demonstrated include patients who have experienced a first clinical episode and have MRI features consistent with multiple sclerosis.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

  • BETASERON should be used with caution in patients with depression.
  • Injection-site necrosis has been reported in 4% of patients in controlled trials. Patients should be advised of the importance of rotating injection sites.
  • Severe hepatic injury, including cases of hepatic failure, has been reported. Patients should be monitored for liver enzyme elevations while taking BETASERON.
  • BETASERON should be used with caution in patients with seizure disorders or cardiac disease.
  • Female patients should be warned about the potential risk to pregnancy.
  • Cases of anaphylaxis have been reported rarely.
  • The most commonly reported adverse reactions are lymphopenia (low numbers of a certain kind of white blood cell), injection-site reaction, asthenia (general weakness), flu-like symptom complex (flu syndrome and/or a combination of at least two Adverse Events from fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and sweating), headache and pain. Gradual dose titration and use of analgesics during treatment initiation may help reduce flu-like symptoms.

See "Warnings," "Precautions," and "Adverse Reactions" sections of full Prescribing Information. For important risk and use information, please see the full Prescribing Information. For more information about the Betaseron Pregnancy Registry, please visit BetaseronPregnancyRegistry.com.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

About Bayer HealthCare

Bayer HealthCare is the U.S.-based pharmaceuticals business of Bayer HealthCare LLC, a subsidiary of Bayer AG. Bayer HealthCare is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry, and combines the activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Diabetes Care, and Pharmaceuticals divisions.  As a specialty pharmaceutical company, Bayer HealthCare provides products for Diagnostic Imaging, General Medicine, Hematology, Neurology, Oncology and Women's Healthcare.  The company's aim is to discover and manufacture products that will improve human health worldwide by diagnosing, preventing and treating diseases.

About Health Alliance Medical Plans

Health Alliance Medical Plans is a leading provider-sponsored health insurer in the Midwest, administering health care coverage for more than 310,000 lives.  Health Alliance was recently named the #1 private health plan in Illinois and Iowa and the #1 Medicare plan in Illinois in the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) 2011-2012 Health Insurance Plan Rankings.  Additionally, in recognition of its exceptional commitment to quality, Health Alliance holds an Excellent accreditation from NCQA for its commercial HMO, PPO and POS plans as well as its Medicare HMO and PPO plans.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

The Bayer Cross, Bayer, BETASERON and BETAPLUS are registered trademarks of Bayer.

521-28-0005-11a


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