Studying such real-world evidence offers manufacturers a powerful tool to prove the value of their drugs – something Roche (ROG.S) aims to leverage, for example, with last months $2 billion purchase of Flatiron Health.Real-world evidence involves collecting data outside traditional randomized clinical trials, the current gold standard for judging medicines, and interest in the field is ballooning.Half of the worlds 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 Healths clinicaltrials.gov website.Hot areas for such studies include cancer, heart disease and respiratory disorders.Historically, it has been hard to get a handle on how drugs work in routine clinical practice but the rise of electronic medical records, databases of insurance claims, fitness wearables and even social media now offers a wealth of new data.

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