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Pharmacy proves role for real-world data

role for real-world data | Picture of scientist looking at data on a tablet - Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy

Pharmacy proves role for real-world data

Pharmacies in Quebec have proven the feasibility of collecting real-world data on patients’ utilization of a drug—in this case, Paxlovid—to assist government agencies and clinicians with their assessments of the drug.

Headshot of Jean Bourcier - The Canadian Foundation For Pharmacy

Jean Bourcier

“Conclusions drawn from the analysis of real-world data can demonstrate the therapeutic value of treatments, making access faster and more widespread,” says Jean Bourcier, President of Accessa, which spearheaded the pilot project that ran from February 2022 to January 2023. Accessa, an organization that centrally manages patient support programs for specialty drugs, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Quebec Association of Owner Pharmacists (AQPP), of which Bourcier is Executive Vice-President and CEO.

There is a “desperate need” for data generated in real time that is easy to access, says Bourcier. “Too often, stakeholders have no choice but to rely on historical data, where Accessa brings a prospective approach that is fit for purpose.”

Both pharmacists and patients responded positively to the pilot project. “I’m very motivated, and so are the patients, because the information will be useful at the clinical level in the future,” says Philippe Desmarais, pharmacist-owner of Proxim in Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu, PQ. “It’s very exciting.”

Accessa consulted with INNESS (the National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services), Quebec’s health and technology assessment agency, to determine what clinical information to collect from patients. It used its proprietary patient portal and data management platform, Curo, to securely capture and anonymize the data.

Some 933 pharmacists from 306 pharmacies across Quebec participated in the pilot, which was up and running in just four weeks. Patients provided information to help assess efficacy, safety and adherence at the time Paxlovid was dispensed, and again 14 days after the start of treatment. Out of a total of 1,148 files obtained from the Curo platform, 1,004 were retained for analysis by INESSS, for a compliance rate of 87.5%.

“The Paxlovid project positions pharmacists as key players in the collection of real-world data,” says Bourcier. “Pharmacists are generating new, extremely valuable data to help make innovative treatments more accessible to patients.”

The results of the pilot go far beyond advancing knowledge about Paxlovid, he adds. “The project confirms that the collection of field information by healthcare professionals who are drug therapy experts—in this case, community pharmacists—from their patients provides high-quality data, simply and reliably in real time, and that Accessa has the capacity to collate this data in a neutral, structured way.”

The goal is to apply this model for real-world data collection to other high-interest drugs. “For example, it has multiple possibilities in other therapeutic areas like oncology and rare diseases,” says Nadia Khassassi, Vice-President of Operations, Accessa. And the Curo platform can be adapted for use outside of Quebec. “This type of project could be expanded to other provinces, depending on the agreements Accessa may enter with pharmacists in those provinces,” says Khassassi.

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