Roche tablets are seen positioned in front of a displayed Roche logo in this January 22, 2016 file illustration photo. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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Drugmakers are racing to scoop up patient health records and strike deals with technology companies as big data analytics start to unlock a trove of information about how medicines perform in the real world.Real-world evidence involves collecting data outside traditional randomised clinical trials, the current gold standard for judging medicines, and interest in the field is ballooning.Half of the world's 1,800 clinical studies involving real-world or real-life data since 2006 have been started in the last three years, with a record 300 last year, according to a Reuters analysis of the U.S. National Institutes of Health's clinicaltrials.gov Interest in such real-world data goes far beyond cancer.WHOSE DATA IS IT ANYWAY?But the growth of real-world evidence also raises questions about data access and patient privacy, as Britain's National Health Service – a uniquely comprehensive source of health care data – has found to its cost.Last year a British hospital trust was rapped by the Information Commissioner's Office for misusing data, after it passed on personal information of around 1.6 million patients to artificial-intelligence firm Google DeepMind.
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