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Jun 25, 2014
Making the Case for Personalized Medicine
Making the Case for Personalized Medicine
Source: © Alexander Raths – Fotolia.com
Personalized medicine is gaining momentum, but it needs yet more
impetus to break into the healthcare mainstream, argues a new
report. Released on June 25 by the Personalized Medicine Coalition
(PMC), the report examines opportunities for the continued
development and adoption of personalized medicine as the cost of
genetic sequencing declines, the pharmaceutical industry increases
its commitment to personalized treatment, and the public policy
According to the report, personalized medicine is poised to:
◾ Shift the emphasis in medicine from reaction to prevention.
◾ Direct the selection of optimal therapy and reduce trial-and-
◾ Help avoid adverse drug reactions.
◾ Increase patient adherence to treatment.
◾ Improve quality of life.
◾ Reveal additional or alternative uses for medicines and drug
◾ Help control the overall cost of health care.
The report, which is entitled “The Case for Personalized Medicine,”
strikes a confident tone, citing progress along scientific,
technological, and commercial fronts. Advances include a more than
16,000-fold decrease in sequencing costs over the past 10 years, a
57% increase in products the last three years, and a steadily
growing number of drugs with labels that include pharmacogenomic
information. In 2006, there were 13 prominent examples of
personalized drugs, treatments, and diagnostics on the market. In
2011, there were 72, and today there are 113.
Despite these advances, the report soberly notes that technological
changes need to be accompanied by cultural and institutional
changes: “Such rapid developments … make it imperative for us to
encourage the development and adoption of personalized medicine. It
is essential to have appropriate coverage and payment policies, as
these will encourage continued investment in new molecular
diagnostics. We need regulatory guidelines that adapt to and
encourage the coupling of diagnostics and medicines that target
genetically defined populations. And professional education must be
modernized to prepare the next generation of doctors and other
health care professionals for personalized medicine.”
The report, now in its fourth edition, is scheduled to debut later
today at The Personalized Medicine and Diagnostics Forum at the
2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego. “BIO is very
pleased to co-host [the forum] with the PMC,” said Paul Sheives,
director of BIO’s diagnostics and personalized medicine policy.
“PMC’s The Case for Personalized Medicine defines the field and
contributes to our understanding of how developments in science and
technology are creating new opportunities to address unmet patient
“In a time of unprecedented scientific breakthroughs and
technological advancements, personalized health care has the
capacity to detect the onset of disease at its earliest stages, pre-
empt the progression of disease, and, at the same time, increase
the efficiency of the health care system by improving quality,
accessibility, and affordability,” said Edward Abrahams, president
of the PMC. “We’ve come a long way, but we have a lot to do,
especially in education and advocacy.”
The PMC’s report offers these conclusions: “Personalized medicine
offers significant short- and long-term benefits, especially for
chronic and complex diseases. Payment and reimbursement policies
should not discourage interventions that may raise short-term costs
but improve clinical/cost value over time. Policies that recognize
the principles of personalized medicine will allow physicians to
individualize treatment plans for patients through the early
diagnosis of disease, target treatments to optimize clinical
outcomes, and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and care, thus
reducing long-term costs.
“Innovators are responsible for developing the collective evidence
to justify the contention that personalized medicine can improve
outcomes while controlling costs. Except in the case of some
individual products, to date they have not proven that contention.
When they do, our argument will be more compelling.”