By Franck Chartier-Dumas
– Global Pharma Business Development – SICPA


The ever increasing flows of people and products moving around the world significantly emphasize the risk of major health crises in the future. The recent coronavirus pandemic has made health authorities and citizens aware of the need to put in place comprehensive surveillance systems based on trusted health indicators, so as to help anticipate and manage such phenomena and guarantee people’s safety. New technologies, such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence, have demonstrated their ability to detect the first signals of an emerging crisis, in advance of the traditional organisations.

Real time data analysis is obviously key to effective protection systems. Geolocalised data of pharmaceutical sales is an essential indicator for public health authorities and has become indispensable for visualizing consumption patterns, the spread of epidemics and optimising public health systems. In particular, such data permits the effective monitoring of known issues which are expected to become the most expensive in the coming years, such as antibiotic resistance or the increasing consumption of Opioids. Cross-referenced against social media data or personal data from smartphones, it increases the level of understanding of the health of populations.

However, such analysis can only be relevant if certain conditions are fulfilled. First, it is critical to ensure the veracity and integrity of the data itself. Second, process and protocol information relating to the means of data generation has to be auditable. It is essential to have a fully trusted basis for taking such decisions which are so important to public health and finances.

Digitalization of society is also revolutionising the way we measure the efficiency of medical treatment. Personalised medicine is likely to grow massively in the future, indeed  new health systems based on results (“pay for results”) are already emerging.

Citizens will increasingly agree to exchange personal data and information about their lifestyle for personalised medical treatment. This will partly be made possible by high performance computing. However, in this case too, systems will have to guaranty to patients that both nationally and internationally their data is shared securely in a trusted environment and will be treated in full respect of their privacy, with the legally required level of anonymity.