AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP and HealthCore, Inc., the health outcomes research subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc., today announced a collaborative agreement to conduct real-world studies designed to determine how to most effectively and economically treat disease.
The research, which will include prospective and retrospective observational studies on disease states as well as comparative effectiveness research, will analyze how medicines and treatments already on the market are working in a number of disease areas, with a special emphasis on chronic illnesses. It also will provide insight into the types of new therapies most needed for treating and preventing disease.
"We are seeking to answer a fundamental question with this research: How can we improve overall patient health while lowering the total cost of care - especially in the treatment of chronic diseases?" said James W. Blasetto, M.D., AstraZeneca vice president of U.S. strategic development. "In doing so, the research will help drive the development and delivery of medicines with clear value to patients and payers, creating an opportunity to change the focus of the healthcare conversation from cost to value."
Dr. Blasetto also noted that AstraZeneca, and HealthCore will seek to expand the collaboration into a broader healthcare consortium with public and private organizations, accelerating efforts to integrate community health information and enhance community health. The agreement reflects the growing interest among healthcare decision-makers to assess clinical and cost effectiveness through comparative effectiveness research and related "real-world" analyses.
Unlike controlled clinical trials, real-world evidence studies use observational data such as electronic medical records, claims information and patient surveys. By examining data associated with the delivery of care, real-world analyses can assess treatment impact on hospital length of stay, readmissions, overall health status, cost of care and other key evidence-based outcomes.
A leader in health outcomes research, HealthCore maintains the largest data environment in the nation. HealthCore's near real-time, fully-integrated data environment combines medical, pharmacy, laboratory results and other information drawn from 36 million enrollees in local Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans with concentrated populations in 16 states.
"With this partnership, we will identify, evaluate and incorporate new data into the existing research environment, allowing us to combine our collective data, analytics, disease expertise, and scientific rigor to produce real-world studies that can help improve health and reduce costs," said HealthCore President Marcus Wilson. "AstraZeneca, with its deep expertise in chronic disease and progressive views on collaboration, makes it an ideal partner in this initiative."
"In an era of advancing medical knowledge in pharmacogenomics and the dawn of personalized medicine, it will be increasingly important to understand why drugs are more effective in certain individuals," said WellPoint Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sam Nussbaum. "While we want to focus on prevention, the mainstay of treatment of chronic illness is the effective use of drug therapy to reduce the consequences of these illnesses. This collaboration with AstraZeneca and, ultimately, provider partners, will enable us to answer fundamental questions of clinical science and, most important, clinical care. This will allow improved health and well being and ultimately reduce the human and financial impact of illness."