There is a fascination with the possibility of routine incorporation of Real World Evidence (RWE) into a clinical context. The fascination derives from the fact that today's technology, data collection and analytical capability allows for huge amounts of clinical and patient data, from multiple datasets, to determine the most appropriate treatment pathway for an individual to get the best clinical outcome for a given cost. This is not yet a reality across all disease areas but it is an aspiration and almost certainly possible, notwithstanding the many barriers to its adoption; the presentations and discussion at the BHBIA meeting on Sept 7 made that clear. However, the key question I ask about the pharmaceutical industry is whether it will be quick enough to take advantage of this opportunity or whether it will be beaten to the punch by other actors in the field of data management and analysis. We often hear of technology giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft and IBM (Watson division) moving into the healthcare space and it would be foolish to bet against them. Of course, partnerships between some pharma companies and some technology providers already exist but they are in a minority. The pharmaceutical industry has traditionally been the financial giant in the healthcare space, with high margins, high returns on capital employed and big market capitalisations to boot but compared with Apple et al they are relative midgets. It is to be hoped, for the sake of the pharmaceutical industry, that it can shake off its slothful approach to new technology and add the significant value to its products that RWE can offer. The alternative is the possibility of being marginalized as a supplier of a single component in the healthcare ecosystem in which the controllers of the data generate the added value.
Stewart Adkins was a Pharmaceutical Analyst at Lehman Brothers for 23 years as well as being involved with the PharmaFutures projects www.pharmafutures.org but is now writing independently. Stewart Adkins also “carried the bag” for Dista Products (Lilly Industries )in the early 1980s. Currently, Stewart Adkins is a Director of Pharmaforensic Limited www.pharmaforensic.co.uk and runs his own consultancy Stewart Adkins Advisors Limited
Stewart Adkins was a Pharmaceutical Analyst at Lehman Brothers for 23 years and was involved with the Pharmafutures projects.