AstraZeneca has entered into a three-year European collaboration with IMS Health to advance the use of real-world evidence "to inform the delivery of effective and cost-efficient healthcare".

Specifically, the partnership, the financial terms for which have not been disclosed, will give the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker access to pre-existing anonymised electronic health records, which include clinical outcome, economic and treatment pattern data. In addition, the companies say they will jointly develop "a customised research and data analysis platform".

AstraZeneca went on to say the information will provide "a deeper insight into how medicines that are already on the market are working in real-world settings across Europe". This will be like "painting a picture of unmet needs in the current standard of care and treatment patterns across a number of therapeutic areas, with an emphasis on chronic illnesses".

The data will also be used "to inform AstraZeneca’s discovery and clinical development programmes". The firm's R&D chief Martin Mackay said the IMS deal "is a key milestone in our commitment to understand the impact of our medicines in the real world, beyond what we see in controlled clinical trials".

AstraZeneca already has an established real-world data and research partnership in place in the USA, with WellPoint subsidiary Healthcore.