Veeva gains customers with its OpenData service; litigation with IQVIA drags on

The year-old-plus litigation highlights the value of customer master data

The news is that Veeva Systems has won over three new clients—Nestle Health Science, Indivior and Syner-Med—to its OpenData service, which provides verified data on physicians and other healthcare practitioners in 42 countries globally. Veeva integrates this data source with its Veeva CRM product, widely used by pharma sales teams to manage customer relations. Meanwhile, there’s little of substance to report on the ongoing litigation between Veeva and IQVIA, whose OneKey service competes directly with OpenData—but in a way, that’s news itself.

OpenData and OneKey are forms of master data management (MDM) services, a vital part of today’s digitized sales and marketing processes, inside and outside of life sciences. Historically, pharma manufacturers used to depend on list providers like the American Medical Assn.’s Masterfile (and both Veeva and IQVIA are licensees of this database), but in recent years, MDM has grown to include detailed email and other digital information. In the case of Indivior, the company says that two data systems using “17 versions of the same data source” (!) were dropped for OpenData. “By switching to Veeva OpenData, we gained a single source of customer data that’s accurate – a major advantage in today’s varying compliance environment,” said Dianne Goodburn, commercial director at Indivior.

Not long after Veeva brought OpenData (then called “OpenKey”—itself a subject of legal action with IQVIA), IQVIA (formerly IMS Health) brought litigation, claiming that Veeva was misusing its proprietary information by incorporating it from pharma clients that also were using Veeva. Veeva countersued, claiming antitrust and unfair competition. The suits have been consolidated in the US District Court of New Jersey (case No. 2:17-cv-00177-CCC-MF) and the parties’ law firms have been banging away at each other ever since. Most recently, the court appointed a special master, who ruled, mostly favorably, in July on Veeva’s discovery petitions.

Veeva says that it expects a ruling by the end of this year, that currently, “there’s nothing preventing customers from using Veeva OpenData” and that “our open, customer-first approach is making it easier for the industry to use and gain value from their data.” If nothing else, the litigation is demonstrating the value that both companies put on their MDM services, and in turn, the importance of MDM to pharma marketing and sales activities.