Credible, current and accessible: Finding the drug data to get the medications right
By Patrick Reilly, CEO of phactMI
September 28, 2022
To get the medications right, care teams need access to the most current, evidence-based information about those medications—ideally, at the point of care.
We all understand this. Making it happen, however, has been a longstanding challenge. Often, the relevant information isn’t always accessible.
That’s not to say that information is not available. The package insert is readily available, as are published research. Both may be dated and incomplete.
Here are a few of the challenges care teams face in finding the right information:
- Time: Health care professionals are incredibly busy and don’t have the time to dedicate to in-depth research.
- Accuracy: Third-party sources aren’t necessarily reliable. Even legitimate medical sites can offer flawed information.
- Comprehensiveness: The package label may be more accurate, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t apply to all patients in all circumstances. This is complicated by the fact that only recently have pharmaceutical manufacturers begun to make their trials more inclusive of the patients who will actually be taking the products. A common question is, “My patient has this comorbidity/issue/concern. How do I dose this patient accordingly?” That information may not be on the label, but the pharmaceutical manufacturer may have the answer.
There is a robust repository of information that didn’t make it to the label: It resides with the drug manufacturer. That’s where medical information (MI) professionals come into play.
The role of MI professionals
MI professionals have access to the most accurate and up-to-date data on their products. That can include information from the clinical trials that didn’t get published, and it can include newer safety data that was unavailable when the drug went to market.
phactMI represents MI professionals across the pharmaceutical industry; we’re dedicated to increasing the awareness of and access to credible drug information.
One of our primary goals is to make it easier for health care professionals to access unbiased, evidence-based information about medications. To that end, our website currently enables searches of more than 3,000 products. But there are limits.
Hurdles to leveraging MI data
Medical information departments have access to a wealth of data, but for very understandable reasons, healthcare professionals may be hesitant to utilize this information.
- Awareness and trust of MI: Only 60% of health care professionals realize that pharmaceutical manufacturers have medical information departments that can provide data on products. And only about half of those say they trust the information. Medical information is a critically important resource within medical affairs organizations and is separate and distinct from both sales and marketing. They are responsible for providing the best, most current information available supported by clinical data, with a specific focus on ensuring the safe and appropriate use of the product.
- Regulatory: Pharmaceutical companies can provide additional information on medications when asked, but we cannot proactively offer information about anything that isn’t on the label. This gets back to awareness and trust: To access the data that will help them better understand how a particular medication affects a particular patient, they must ask.
- Time and access: It always is going to boil down to this: They have to ask us a question. Currently, we’re looking at how to best integrate such queries into the clinician’s workflow.
Moving to the point of care
One of the fundamental tenets of GTMRx is this: Medication optimization relies on having the right data at the right time at the point of care. That data must be actionable. It must be useful to the care team. Only then can the care team be equipped to provide comprehensive medication management services to patients who need it.
PhactMI.org provides access to current, accurate drug information available from manufacturers’ MI departments, and we encourage health care professionals to use it.
Patrick Reilly is a Medical Affairs consultant with over 30 years of experience within the pharmaceutical industry. His area of focus and expertise is Medical Affairs functional capabilities, where he helps organizations harmonize and transform those capabilities to enhance efficiencies, increase productivity, and create value.