The medical community’s reliance on online data sources is increasing. According to a study entitled, “The New Rules of HCP Engagement: 5 Strategies to Consider in an Evolving Pharma Landscape,” physicians’ use of smartphones and tablets to access information about new drug research has increased 133 percent over the last five years. (Healthcasts. New York, NY. October 2015.) According to Jennifer Riggins, advisor for Eli Lilly and Company Global Medical Digital, “HCPs want to be able to access information online; it’s part of their daily workflow. Over 80 percent of the time in the U.S. they’re starting at a search engine in order to find an answer to their question.”
A study published in Annals of Pharmacotherapy reveals an incidence of errors and omissions in drug information available on websites commonly used by pharmacists, physicians, other healthcare providers, and consumers. Specifically, the study compared information from five online compendia against manufacturers’ prescribing information for 270 pharmaceutical drug summaries. Study authors reported that, among errors found, about 25 percent of information was categorized as inaccurate, 53 percent as incomplete, and 22 percent as omitted. (A Collaborative Assessment Among 11 Pharmaceutical Companies of Misinformation in Commonly Used Online Drug Information Compendia. Ann Pharmocother. 2016 Feb 25.)
Pharmaceutical manufacturers have access to scientific data related to their products. However, there is a lack of awareness about pharmaceutical medical information (MI) services. Approximately 40 percent of HCPs are unaware that dedicated MI departments exist and can provide quality information (Data on file. WorldOne Interactive + Sermo, New York, HN. June 2014.)
From her experience, Sara Doshi, director of medical information strategy and capabilities at Eli Lilly and Company says, “Medical information leaders from drug companies come to work every morning with the same goal. We all wake up thinking about the scientific, relevant, timely and factual data that can help respond to specific HCP questions. Our days are spent learning all we can about a product to best communicate relevant information to an external requestor.”
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive and up-to-date information about their products because manufacturers sponsor much of the clinical research and development. The manufacturers’ MI departments employ credentialed, highly educated medical specialists with a wealth of information about their respective products. This includes clinical study details and late-breaking data from congresses or published in peer reviewed journals.
Recent Initiative Addresses Unmet Need
The MI departments of pharmaceutical manufacturers have robust scientific and clinical information regarding their products. MI departments offer information through peer-to-peer scientific exchange, utilizing published and unpublished internal information to respond to unsolicited inquiries from the medical and healthcare community. They offer current, accurate, and scientific information such as clinical study details, and information about their ingredients, formulation, and temperature stability, that may not be accessible elsewhere.
phactMI (Pharma Collaboration for Transparent Medical Information), a consortium of medical information professionals, was created to increase awareness of and enhance access to relevant, evidence-based, and timely medical information. phactMI was founded by 19 pharmaceutical companies and incorporated as a 501 (c)(6) organization. Its membership has grown to 26-member companies: Abbvie, Allergan, Amgen, Astellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Biogen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Eli Lilly, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Incyte, Janssen Scientific Affairs, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Otsuka, Pfizer, Sanofi, Shire, Sunovion, Takeda and Vertex.
The organization recently hired a chief executive officer (CEO), Patrick Reilly, former VP of global medical information at Bristol-Myers Squibb, to help lead phactMI through its next stage of development and into the future. “Credentialed MI professionals who work in-house for drug manufacturers can support HCPs by providing timely access to extensive, scientifically balanced, and rigorously researched data upon their request,” says Reilly. “Since these MI professionals possess a current and comprehensive knowledge base, they are able to provide requested feedback that is customized to help HCPs make informed medical decisions.”
phactMI has worked to address the need for quick, easy access to accurate medical information by developing and launching www.phactMI.org. Through this website, phactMI helps address HCPs' growing needs for transparent medical information and provides them with free access to medical information from member organizations through a single portal. Through phactMI.org, HCPs can access information related to over 1,000 products. They also have the ability to submit a medical inquiry directly to a member company through its website, or find the direct phone number for the MI department.
In conclusion, Stuart Sowder, VP of external medical communications at Pfizer adds, “We all want to make it easier for HCPs to find answers to their questions to improve patient care through informed decision making. We’re not trying to replace anybody they currently use to get information. Instead we want to make it easy to find information when needed from the manufacturer, who conducted the studies, if it can help answer questions when HCPs are faced with making a decision about patients’ health.”
phact-MI, Inc. is the owner of all rights, title and interest in the phactMI brand and is fully trademarked.
phactMI Code of Practice: https://www.phactmi.org/PortalCodeOfPractice