Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Personalized Medicine May Fuel Economic Growth

The concept of personalized medicine isn’t new, but the public awareness campaign is only just picking up momentum, partly on the heels of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While the overhaul of the American healthcare system is surrounded by considerable debate, biotech companies are finding fresh optimism in bringing the science of pharmacogenomics into the mainstream.

Though physicians and pharmacists are just beginning to adopt gene-based prescribing, it has already caught the eye of Eddie Yoon, a research analyst for Fidelity Investments and the company’s health care fund manager.

“We are entering the era of Biotech 2.0, in which targeted diagnostic tests are accelerating advances in the truly life-changing therapies of personalized medicine,” according to a recently published Fidelity Viewpoint article. “With an estimated 90% of prescription drugs working only about 50% of the time, prescribing physicians could use molecular diagnostics to test for specific genetic mutations that might cause one drug to be harmful, while another might be safe.”

Fidelity considers genetic-based medicine regimes a game-changing innovation that can drive considerable growth in the health care sector. And at a current estimate of 770,000 injuries and deaths from adverse drug reactions, Fidelity suggests,“this could not only save 50% of drug costs, but also help prevent a leading cause of unintended death.”

All this suggests that the cost savings introduced by personalized medicine and genetic-based prescribing practices might well become the prevailing catalyst to an entirely more patient-centric approach to healthcare.

Whether it will be improved patient care goals or impressive profit-and-loss ratios that fuel the move to personalized medicine, all indicators point to a win-win scenario.


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