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How can pharma develop new drugs in tough economic climate?

Demand for healthcare services is relentlessly increasing as highlighted by a letter to The Times last week from leading figures within the health world who are calling for a national debate on how the NHS in England is funded.

Online Physician Communities Leading figures within the health world are calling for a national debate on how the NHS in England is funded.

The letter, which says that the NHS is 'creaking at the seams and cannot continue as it is', warns that unless action is taken a further £30bn will be needed by 2020 and the money available for certain diseases and conditions will have to be limited.

Regulators and payors are already under pressure to limit access to new treatments unless they can be shown to have either a cost saving or a demonstrable impact on healthcare outcomes that matter to patients.  They also need to show that any additional costs can be justified

So how should pharma respond to these pressures and how can it innovate in developing new treatments? I believe that the pharma 1.0 model of exclusively using data from clinical trials to justify the need for new drugs should be reviewed since the cost of collecting sufficient data is becoming uneconomic, the process denies early access to these new therapies and the data does not truly represent how they will work in the real world.

Real world evidence is vital since it enables healthcare systems to evaluate the actual impact of new therapies outside the “test-tube' environment of clinical trials whilst also allowing patients to have more of a say in what they are looking for in how their condition is treated

We need a Pharma 2.0 model where new therapies are developed and evaluated collaboratively. However, to achieve this pharma must be willing to do things differently. It must be more transparent about sharing data and work in partnership with healthcare providers, governments, charities, plus other pharma companies, diagnostics companies and involved parties.

The Salford Lung Study is one example of a “real world trial”; while Cancer Research UK's Stratified Medicines Project also demonstrates that two pharma companies can work together with the UK government's technology strategy board and a charity to evaluate the impact of genetics on new therapies - in this case for lung cancer.

For more information on M3, the global provider of technology services in healthcare, and its European Division which includes,, and, please call Tim Ringrose on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email

14th July 2014

From: Marketing



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