AstraZeneca has signed a deal with England’s Health and Social Care Information Centre to improve the usefulness of real-world data in healthcare decision making.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU), the Anglo-Swedish firm and the HSCIC will also look at how pharma and the NHS can better understand the role medicines play in helping patients with chronic diseases in England, especially diabetes.

This collaboration is the first of its kind between a pharma company and the HSCIC, England’s central, authoritative source of health and social care information, and will support the wider UK Government life sciences strategy that aims for more partnerships such as this.

Together, AstraZeneca and the HSCIC say they will develop “important capabilities for linking disparate sources of real world health information from the NHS for healthcare decision-making and business intelligence purposes”.

The HSCIC told PharmaTimes UK news that this particular MOU: "Sets out the vision of the two organisations towards improving responsible access to health and care data to inform business intelligence, to help build understanding about the role medicines play in helping patients with chronic diseases.

"Potentially, this will help with the development and evaluation of medicines in line with the needs of patients; develop opportunities for joint statistical method development and application of informatics techniques to health and care data and create opportunities to share expertise and develop talent within both organisations."

It added that the MOU is not legally binding, but instead "has the purpose of indicating a common vision, recognising joint interests and outlining a plan of activity".

The parties will initially look at how anonymised, integrated health data can be used to identify unmet clinical need in patients with diabetes, which affects around 2.9 million adults in the UK.

Martin Mackay, president of R&D for AstraZeneca, said: “AstraZeneca is pleased to work with the HSCIC towards improving the use of health and care data in England, enabling AstraZeneca to assess how medicines impact patient populations and healthcare systems.”

AstraZeneca has already established a collaborative agreement with consultants IMS Health, to advance the use of observational and retrospective data studies throughout Europe to inform the delivery of effective and cost-efficient healthcare.