AZ teams with IMS to glean real-world drug evidence

Drugmakers generate a lot of data on their products' performance in controlled environments, but information on what happens in the real world has been difficult to come by. That's changing as drugmakers team up with data-gatherers to mine health records and look for trends. The latest: AstraZeneca's ($AZN) deal with IMS Health, a three-year arrangement that gives the drugmaker access to clinical outcomes, treatment patterns and economic info.

As AstraZeneca VP Greg Rossi told Dow Jones, the impetus comes from increasingly choosy payers. No longer willing to foot the bill for every new drug—especially the most costly ones—insurers and government programs want proof their money is well spent. Just think of Germany's new pricing policy. Drugmakers can set the price of new meds for just one year. By the end of that time frame, the company has to prove the new product beats older options and negotiate a price accordingly. New meds that don't outperform the old will get old-drug prices.

Payers that have never before posed tough questions about product performance are doing just that, Rossi said, and some of them want local data. The IMS arrangement covers Europe, while the company has a similar deal in the U.S. with HealthCore, WellPoint's outcomes research group.

"We are working toward providing payers with the evidence they need to evaluate the value of our medicines, not just in terms of the benefit they bring to individual patients," Rossi told the news wire, "but also in terms of the broader benefits to healthcare delivery and the wider societal benefits."

- get the AstraZeneca release
- read the Dow Jones piece