Cigna to use Big Data to authorize Crestor

AstraZeneca (AZN +0.2%) and Cigna (CI-0.1%ink a deal whereby the insurer will use predictive modeling software to authorize paying for Crestor instead of relying on prior authorization. Cigna says that it will lower drug costs because the Big Data-based model will flag patients most at risk for atherosclerosis and will approve the immediate use of Crestor instead of following the traditional "step therapy" rule requiring the patients to try cheaper drugs first. It is also a win for AZN because it will be CI's brand-name statin. The initiative should help support sales before the product goes off patent in 2016.

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