The Apple Watch has only been available to consumers since the end of April but already looks set to revolutionise the healthcare world as a fitness tracker. More than 4.2 million people now own one of these smartwatches, giving doctors, scientists and healthcare professionals an insight into the health, movement and wellbeing of users on an unprecedented scale.
Already used as a fitness tracker, medical professionals are now seeking to use the device as a means of conducting post-market studies which could help cut the price of some prescription drugs in the future.
Payers are honing in on the increase of wearable devices and fitness tracker which collect patient data as a means of producing databases of information about their patients under the catchphrase of the “new health economy”.
Experts have claimed that the only way the drug industry is going to be able to continue to charge premium prices for specialist products – or any products – is by being able to demonstrate value against competition, which can be achieved by analysing the data provided by wearable technologies of those patients taking these medications. This will mean that Pharma companies and the technical industry need to secure their relationship further as a means of better understanding how their drugs are fairing in real life situations, as well as with payers and providers.
As well as cementing this bond with the tech world, Pharma companies should also look at coming together in collaborations/partnerships, according to a recent report by the PWC Health Research Institute. The study highlighted that partnerships benefit both those who are looking to buy medications at a lower cost as well as the companies looking to get the best return on their investment to develop new breakthroughs.
According to the report: “All of these collaborations have one thing in common: they aim to use newly available consumer health data to uncover the truth about drug values and its relationship to health outcomes. The need to collaborate also stems from a growing concern that drug development doesn’t adequately address patient needs and medication adherence outside of the clinic.”
The European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) has argued that medicine prices currently don’t relate to the medicine’s value, something which could be solved by harnessing better the data provided by wearable users. One ESMO member, Professor Richard Sullivan from Kings College London, said the group wanted Pharma companies and those who fund drug discovery to focus on inventing meaningful drugs that help patients, rather than just to make a profit.