NEW YORK PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report that the personalized medicine market will grow 11% per year is just another indication that the field could become the next generation of community pharmacy.
A lot of research already has gone into studying the interactions between drugs and the genetic makeup of the patients who take them. In October, pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions announced that it would undertake a study to determine whether the presence of a normally functioning version of the gene CYP2C19 in 70% to 75% of patients, which makes them “extensive metabolizers” of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s and Sanofi-Aventis’ anticlotting drug Plavix (clopidogrel), have comparable outcomes to patients taking Eli Lilly & Co.’s Effient (prasugrel). Unlike Plavix, metabolism of Effient does not depend on patients’ genetic makeup.
Meanwhile, CVS Caremark will work with Generation Health to expand pharmacogenomic, or PGx testing to its pharmacy benefit manager clients to predict how patients will respond to medications for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and HIV. CVS expects to introduce PGx clinical services to its PBM clients in second quarter 2010. Regional chain Kerr Drug, working with the University of North Carolina’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, will begin targeting patients using Plavix in a PGx program of its own by using DNA testing to optimize the therapeutic effects of the drug at its new Community Healthcare Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.