AstraZeneca taps IMS Health for mining 'real-world' data sources

With a greater burden of proof on drugmakers to get payment for new medicines, London-based pharma AstraZeneca ($AZN) has partnered with IMS Health to scour multiple sources of data for real-world evidence on its treatments in Europe. And the companies aim to work together on a specialized research and data analysis system during the three-year effort.

AstraZeneca said the new partnership comes as healthcare payers scrutinize cost and effectiveness data associated with treatments. Among a slew of other drugmakers, AstraZeneca has come up short with payers on certain requests for payment, even after clearing the hurdles of clinical trials and regulatory reviews. The U.K.'s health-spending watchdog, for instance, shot down AZ's request for reimbursement for its breast cancer drug Flasodex in December.

At the same time, however, there's a wealth of data available that can shed light on how successful drugs are at helping the people who take them. IMS, headquartered in Danbury, CT, gives AZ the ability to access electronic health records, claims data, patient registries and other sources to learn how meds are working in patients in Europe. Coupled with the planned analytics platform, AZ expects to glean insights that help with commercial and research activities.

AstraZeneca has been investing in informatics as a way to boost the efficiency of its research efforts, and last year the company committed to operating a center in St. Petersburg, Russia, that would use bioinformatics and other tools to predict the safety and effectiveness of meds.

- here's AstraZeneca's release
- check out the Dow Jones piece