How legal analytics will transform the pharmaceutical industry

Farma Darya

In our Covid pandemic times, the aspirations of the world are pinned on the pharmaceutical industry. With new viruses appearing each year, big data analytics play a critical role in drug and vaccine development. Data collected from Covid-19-hit countries like the total number of cases, intensive care requirements, number of deaths and recovery rates provide valuable insight into affected demographics, spreads, recovery and aids in administration.

Data science contributes to the pharma and healthcare industry in a myriad of ways. Some of the prominent examples include the use of data in clinical trials, accelerating drug discovery and development, and treatment of patients. During the clinical trials of new medicine, collected data is processed to gain insights on the outcomes for individuals by age, gender, medical history and other factors. Medical practitioners look at the existing ailments and history of the patient before recommending any drug.

For decades now the pharma and healthcare industry has been capitalizing on analytics to understand and predict risk when working on new medicines and treatments. But what if one of those disputed treatments becomes a legal matter? Wouldn’t it be prudent for pharmaceutical counsel to apply those same kinds of analytics to understand and anticipate their legal exposure?

In the relatively recent past, pharma litigation relied almost exclusively on legal research, the expertise of seasoned lawyers, and anecdotal data shared among litigators in order to prepare for and win cases. Legal research is still of great importance and can tell you the legal principles that apply to specific cases. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle if you’re trying to learn how the principles were applied.

Using the correct advanced technologies, litigation analytics can provide insights into legal cases and trends that were previously unknowable. The right technology can enhance legal advice, develop improved litigation strategies, and ultimately, win more cases.

Data-driven approach to litigation strategy

Using litigation analytics, pharma counsel can learn what types of cases have actually been litigated, how long the parties litigated, who represented the opposing parties, what findings the jury or court made, and what damages were awarded.

Legal analytics can also provide a detailed litigation history of an opposing party, allowing counsel to understand the party’s strategies and litigation outcomes. By utilizing this information, both in-house counsel and their outside counsel will be much better equipped to anticipate how long a case may take, how much it will cost, what damages might be expected, what strategy their opponent might employ, what plan of action is likely to be successful, and many other important considerations.

For example, legal analytics for pharma litigation brings data-driven insights to pharma cases pending in federal district court from 2009 to the present. The module includes over 485,000 cases (including class actions) of disputes using the keyword “pharmaceutical.” It covers a broad spectrum of case types including product liability, patent and trademarks, contract disputes, and employment matters.

These cases all come from PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) to create a database of several million court documents filed electronically in every district court case since 2009. By approaching this database with a hybrid process of machine learning and expert legal analysts to analyze, enhance and categorize each case with accurate court findings and damage awards, you get incredibly valuable results. This puts a tremendous amount of information at the user’s fingertips: With a few clicks of a mouse, users can gather legal insights that previously could have taken an army of expensive lawyers weeks or months to compile.

Unique case type differentiation

Good legal analytics will include coding for the most common types of pharma litigation, but a word search function can uncover cases involving many other niche case types that can be analyzed separately, including ANDA, Robinson-Patman Act claims, specific medical device disputes, and employment matters.  Keyword searches combined with 50 other case tags covering findings, damages and remedies give users the ability to locate and analyze cases involving issues of interest and the relevant type of case.

This approach to legal analytics gives users easy access to the docket and actual court filings for each case simply by clicking on the case name. Access to the pleadings and rulings allows users to determine what strategies the parties employed in each of these cases, whether those strategies were successful, and how the facts compare to their own case. Learning what actually has resulted in successful case outcomes enables lawyers to formulate better litigation strategies.

Another great advantage that litigation analytics brings to the table is its ability to conduct detailed research into a particular court or judge. For example, suppose I am serving as counsel in a newly filed case in the Eastern District of Louisiana (E.D.La.) involving a product liability claim, but my practice is centered in Chicago. When my client asks me for information about the jurisdiction, I can use litigation analytics to locate data for this court and, specifically, cases involving this particular type of matter.

Strategic advantage for pharma counsel

Legal analytics is already the must-have tool to help companies and their counsel make smarter, faster, data-driven business and legal decisions. Certainly, the technology around legal analytics is having a profound impact on the way corporations and their law firms approach the practice of law. All parties in the pharmaceutical industry stand to benefit greatly from the use of litigation analytics given the scope and complexity of pharmaceutical cases and the breadth of the types of policies available in the market today.

Pharmaceutical law firms also will make increasing use of litigation analytics in order to become better lawyers, and new applications for legal analytics in the pharmaceutical industry will likely emerge. In the meantime, in an industry that already relies heavily on data and predictive analytics models to assess new medicines and treatments, legal analytics is a welcome addition to the existing toolsets of pharma professionals and their counsel.

Photo: Bet Noire, Getty Images

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