IMS pitches expanded real-world evidence platform to pharma

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Pursuing claims-based data on what happens to patients taking their drugs, pharma companies have been striking pacts with payers and PBMs. Now, a heavyweight in the research field, IMS Health, has signed a deal that might make its own real-world evidence (RWE) platform just as attractive to drugmakers.

The deal, announced yesterday, is with Health Intelligence Company (HIC) and packages that firm's integrated claims database, the largest in the US, with the IMS portfolio of patient-centered information.

Jovan Willford, principal, healthcare value solutions/real-world evidence at IMS Health told MM&M that the deal to augment the firm's RWE platform “is an important addition to an existing base, and we anticipate continuing to build our RWE offerings in the coming months.”

The expanded RWE platform can help biopharma deliver higher-quality care by helping clients “access, manage and gain insights about the total patient experience in near real time,” added Andrew Kress, SVP, IMS Healthcare Value Solutions, in a statement.

HIC's database includes more than 110 million de-identified, commercially insured US health plan members covered since 2005. It will become part of the IMS LifeLink portfolio, which offers a view of treatment decisions for more than 210 million de-identified US patients, IMS said. The new RWE offering will be sold under the IMS PharmMetrics Plus brand, available this month.

The collaboration follows a three-year deal IMS inked with AstraZeneca earlier this year, calling for IMS to give the drugmaker access to anonymous electronic health records containing clinical outcome, economic and treatment pattern data.

Then there have been the pharma-payer/PBM deals, several of them, by the likes of Pfizer and Humana, Sanofi and Medco, and AZ and Wellpoint. These entities maintain a close watch on drugs used in their populations, and the data can be powerful in terms of generating a view of the comparative effectiveness of various treatments outside of controlled clinical trials.

When pharma talks directly to these others, of course, it bypasses the marketing research company. In HIC, IMS may see a way to gain some of that business by pitching its own claims-based RWE platform to pharma.

“We think these are incredibly important data sources for pharma to leverage,” Willford said by e-mail. “Our integrated claims data is unique in the diversity of plan sources as HIC works with plans from across the country, the granularity of the data, and the ability to connect to other patient level data sources through our de-identification technology.”

That's data pharma can use to meet stakeholder evidence requirements, learn about launches and other uses. If it can do this better than payers, IMS Health, the sixth biggest marketing research firm worldwide with revenues of $750 million last year, could become a conduit for helping industry understand actual results of its therapies. The question is, can it satisfy pharma's hunger for RWE as well as a single payer or PBM can?

“We view integrated claims insight as a foundational component in understanding the patient journey through the health system,” continued Willford. “However, the astounding demand for evidence isn't a pharma-specific phenomenon. Rather, the life sciences industry is responding to a broad set of environmental forces that require evidence as the basis for engagement across their stakeholders—payers, providers, regulators, and patients. To engage in a dialogue around quality, outcomes, and value requires a comprehensive view of the patient interaction across the healthcare system."

Of course, clients get the benefit of the company's other services, including global reach. "Integrated claims as a foundation must be integrated with other valuable sources of data and all of this data must have the tools to drive relevance for the broad user base within pharma," noted Willford. "IMS leverages a strong legacy in data management with deep domain expertise to build these solutions including more than 200 HEOR [healthcare economics and outcomes research] domain experts in 18 countries around the world.”

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