Year in Review 2015 - Market Access/Evidence

We bring you the top market access articles of 2015.



The enormous amounts of data being generated through clinical trials, health records, wearables, and apps means that companies have to be clear and consistent in their efforts to extract data that is pertinent to the questions they need answered. The experts who have voiced their opinions throughout 2015 send some key messages – data must be the “right” data, it must be actionable, it must drive good business decisions, and it must provide enhanced care for the patient.

1. Making Sense of Data

Rather than being overwhelmed by all of the data that is becoming available to pharma, AstraZeneca’s James Weatherall makes a case for the analytics departments of pharma companies to provide useful business solutions. He explains how data mining could help solve research problems when developing new medicines, and highlights that data scientists with backgrounds in engineering and physics - rather than mathematics - bring experience of practical problem-solving and working with experimental data.

2. The Need for Smart Data

Weatherall also spoke about how ‘smart data’ is more use than big data: “We need the right data to power good analytics and good business decisions.” Furthermore, there aren’t enough skilled people to release the potential of big data. He outlined six key areas where he sees pharma adapting to leverage maximum advantage from changes in data gathering: employing more data scientists; making deals with data analytics companies; cloud based data storage; direct-from-patients’ data via wearables; successful data integration for differentiation; and, not relying on computers to make all the decisions.

3. Harnessing Generic Big Data for Reliable Relevant Insights

Challenges to using big data remain a problem because systems haven’t moved sufficiently in the heavily regulated pharma industry. Taking big data and distilling from it the essence of what people, products and organizations need in order to take action that makes a difference is important. Ramon Chen, CMO of Reltio, gives insight into how big data can be used and delivered to the end users - payers, providers or hospital chains - in a usable form that enables them to perform their tasks successfully.

4. Big Data: Big headache for the industry?

Big data is like natural resources – best utilized when extracted and purified, according to J.P. Errico, Chairman, Founder, Principal Investor and CEO, electroCore. Errico demonstrates how, using big data, he has been able to investigate why patients with headaches cost so much more in their first year after diagnosis, compared to patients with diabetes, for example. Big data has enabled an examination of 7 to 8 co-morbidities in headache patients rather than the 2-3 possible with traditional methods. Big data could lead to revolutionary discoveries in the future, but only if the right questions are asked.

5. Rules-Based Data Analysis and Predictive Modelling: Stemming the Tide of Non-Adherence

David Tomala of Express Scripts, the largest Prescription Benefit Manager in the US, shared some ideas for increasing adherence to prescription drugs. In particular, through the large amount of transactional data gathered by Express Scripts, rule-based analytics are applied to analyze patient behaviors in a bid to increase adherence. Tomala makes a convincing case for the use of predictive modeling, claiming that it is 9.8 times more accurate than when patients self-report medication practices.

6. Making Medicine Accessible to All

Wim Leereveld, CEO and Founder of the Access to Medicine Foundation explained the objective of the Access to Medicines Index, which is to build on the success of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The Access to Medicines Index rates pharma companies on a very precise scale according to a number of indicators, of which there are 95 related to 106 countries and 47 diseases. The Index allows companies to see how they are performing and where trends are emerging, as well as how public/private partnerships are proving useful in bringing medicine to the lowest socio-economic groups in a sustainable manner.

7. Improving Healthcare (and Pharma’s) Performance through Analytics

One of many views on the big data debate was presented by the Chief Data Officer of Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), Eugene Kolker. He believes “complex data” needs to be leveraged through an approach developed by SCH called PPT – People first, Process second, Technology third. In this article, he outlines how this approach has worked to empower SCH staff, as well as shares information from publicly available studies through SCH’s Benchmarking Improvement Program aimed at improving customer care and safety.

8. The Science of Cancer Drug Pricing

A number of leading experts have condemned the high costs of oncology drugs and, through DrugAbacus, Dr Peter Bach of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre has attempted to compare the true value of a drug in terms of benefits versus costs. The current financial pricing structure often forces people into selling assets to pay for treatment, and individuals, HCPs, and even governments are calling for a reduction in the price of drugs. The article looks at ways of bringing the best oncology drugs to those who need them, at affordable prices.

9. Latin America’s Pharma Prices: The Perfect Storm is Here

South American governments negotiated drug prices as they struggled to meet WHO standards on limited budgets. This resulted in a “perfect storm” technique, describing a situation where separate events taking place at the same time causes an aggregated effect. Three ‘perfect storms’ were identified: International Pricing Referencing; South American countries sharing pricing information once a tender has been completed; and, governments uniting by placing mega-tenders that give them more leverage than a single country when negotiating prices.

10. The Reality Behind Real-World Data and Real-World Evidence

It has been increasingly recognized that pharmaceutical companies need to monitor advances in real-world evidence through their own investment and partnerships in real-world data sources and advanced real-world analytics. Jeff Alton gives some practical advice on how pharma should be reshaping their necessary skillsets to best address the various opportunities that real-world evidence offers.

11. Hospira Buoyed by Real World Evidence

Hospira provided an example of how harnessing real-world evidence can facilitate marketplace success. Through real-world research, it was found that the brand, Inflectra - a bio-similar of J&J’s arthritis drug Remicade – should replace Remicade. Not only does such real-world evidence provide clinicians with greater confidence in biosimilars, but it also benefits payers - biosimilars come in well below the cost of established drugs. It is also a market pharma can investigate because biosimilars provide access to drugs previously unavailable to certain patients.

12. RWD: Will the Promise be Fulfilled?

Simon Brander, one of the founders of CSL, a company specializing in data management and analytics for life sciences, spoke about the future of data collection. In particular, how data from patients’ personal devices and apps will provide a means to understand the market better, offer value-based pricing, help shape future drug development, and could even enhance patient engagement. Brander highlighted a number of barriers to using this data, as well as the challenges faced by companies who collect and access the data.


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