Real-world evidence answering key healthcare questions

AZ’s Brian Sweet a featured presenter at the AMCP 2012 Educational Conference

How is AstraZeneca using real-world evidence to shed more light on how our medicines are actually being used to help improve patient health? How are we using the insights from our collaboration with HealthCore to inform business decisions from the earliest days of discovery to the end of a product’s lifecycle?

AstraZeneca’s Brian Sweet, Executive Director of Health Alliances, answered these and other frequently asked questions about our work in real-world evidence at the Association of Managed Care Pharmacy’s 2012 Educational Conference this week.

Q: In what ways is AstraZeneca using real-world evidence? 

Brian: Our RWE capability is generating valuable insights that we are using to inform business decisions we make every day in discovery, business development and commercial development of launch to late-stage products.

We begin talking to payers and health technology appraisers early in and throughout medicines development to discuss where the greatest clinical needs are and what type of data will be needed to provide the evidence to support access and reimbursement in specific healthcare settings.

For example, we worked with a national health plan to understand the effect of a formulary decision on the total cost of care for one of our late stage commercial products. The removal of a branded medicine from a preferred tier status resulted in higher overall costs, related to the cost of office and emergency room visits as well as disease state-related tests.

Q: How has RWE informed AZ’s decisions around working with external partners to develop a medicine?

Brian: If we don’t believe we will be able to demonstrate the value and unmet medical need of an investigational medicine to those who will pay for it, we won’t invest in it.

For example, we did an evaluation of in-hospital and multiple health plan data to provide insight as to whether a late stage product had a role in treating infants with a suspected condition in which all clinical trials had failed.

In another situation, we established the incidence, prevalence, and course of health treatment for a specific disease to evaluate a business development opportunity for a medication intended for patients with biopsy-confirmation of this disease.

 Q: Who else is collaborating with AZ and HealthCore on RWE?

Brian: We have agreements in place with Delaware’s state Medicaid program, a large employer group and some provider groups. We are at different stages of conversations with multiple other stakeholders about how we can work together. Most of our agreements are confidential at this point, but we expect to announce some soon.

Engaging with stakeholders about RWE has taught us how important it is that we are clear and transparent about critical issues such as data security and privacy, data integrity and conducting studies that truly add value to each organization.

To learn more about AstraZeneca’s work in RWE, please visit recent blog posts here and here.