Pharma's latest idea for getting drug info in front of docs? Give them a single login

Six big pharma companies are joining forces to create a one-step login for doctors and healthcare providers to get drug information. The newly formed Align Biopharma group includes Allergan, AstraZeneca, Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Pfizer, along with life sciences software solutions company Veeva Systems.

They’re banding together to address the problem doctors have in digitally accessing information from pharma companies. While use of digital information among doctors has grown—as visits by pharma sales reps continue to decline—so has the difficulty in managing a wide array of sources.

The goal of the group is to create two industry standards—one for identification and the other for consent and preferences, with work on the identification standard already begun. With one standard, physicians and healthcare providers would be able to use a single login to access an array of different pharma sites.

That identification standard is expected to be ready in the first half of the year, and not a moment too soon for some physicians. One doctor on Align Biopharma’s physician advisory board said he has a spreadsheet full of logins and access codes for different pharma companies, Paul Shawah, Veeva’s VP of commercial strategy, told FiercePharma.

Allergan’s Patrick Retif, VP of global commercial IT operations, said his company hears similar frustrations directly from doctors and also from Allergan's sales reps in the field.

“The goal is to make it easier to engage at the digital level with all providers,” he said. “It’s a win for the pharma industry and it’s a win for the doctors … It’s no different than today there are a lot of individuals who use their Facebook login to log in on many different sites.”

Shawah also pointed to the proliferation of specialty drugs and the move to personalized medicine, where doctors’ needs for information in real-time are more specific and complex.

“This is about reducing the friction and making it easier to get information to healthcare providers … It’s a business problem we’re going to solve with technology standards and ultimately technology solutions. Doctors are struggling to get the information they need," he said.