Large pharmaceutical companies working together

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Published: 8 Nov 2017
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Dr Patricia van Dijck- Novartis

Dr. Patricia van Dijck from Novartis talks to ecancer at the HARMONY 2017 meeting in Berlin. She discusses the involvement of Novartis and how pharmaceutical companies are coming together to produce better outcomes for patients.

I’m representing Novartis as Project Lead in the Executive Committee and as such I have a nice overview on what is happening across the different work packages in this extremely interesting project.

Is it interesting to collaborate with organisations you wouldn’t normally work alongside?

As a pharma industry I would say we are used to working with all the stakeholders that are represented, all the healthcare systems stakeholders that are represented. What is great about this project is that we are altogether discussing on the same topic and often it really is function per function discussing with those stakeholders. In this kind of project you really are connecting the dots and you’re really emphasising the common goal which is improving the outcomes of patients. That’s where I think we can also move the needle; in addition to also using big data it’s really having every stakeholder of the healthcare system around the same table.

Is it exciting to have access to all this real world data?

Yes, it’s data, real data but also clinical trial data. It’s having access to it to ask the research questions. You’re right, it’s true for every partner and at the end of the day what HARMONY really brings as value is this big data, not just as hype but really as a means to an end and the end is getting new insights for better decision making. That decision making, again in this set-up of HARMONY, starts from bench, research in pharma and development but also going to registration, HTA bodies until the ultimate therapeutic decisions a doctor will take and with the input of the patients, again across this whole value change.

How long do you think until patients will see a benefit?

That’s a good question. We will see the first results, let start with already a short-term positive result. Really before the end of this year I think we will have first results. It will take probably a few years really before this is structurally integrated into decision making. But the project is over five years; we know the ambition and we have given the means to that ambition, the size of the project but also the time of the project.

Are you interested in being involved in similar projects to this?

Absolutely. Novartis in general, it’s a big company of course, has a long IMI history, more than 45 projects. This is true, the first Big Data for Better Outcomes project. Meanwhile we are participating in two others and we are leading a new one to come. So, yes, clearly. I think that also the environment evolves in much more of a data driven decision-making in healthcare systems too.

Is the overriding consensus to improve patient care?

Yes, and today we can’t work in silos anymore. We really have to work together. It’s probably a cultural change within pharma but also within the healthcare system more broadly.