Genomics offers promise of precision medicine
DENVER — After years of research and billions of dollars in funding, the Human Genome Project has unlocked the complex mysteries of the human genome and unleashed a new era in personalized medicine and pharmaceutical research and development. And pharmacy retailers must get out in front of that gene-based drug revolution or risk being left behind.
So said two of the pharmacy profession’s thought leaders, Rebecca Chater, executive healthcare strategist at Ateb and former EVP in charge of Kerr Drug’s clinical services division, and Brad Tice, director of marketing and product management-performance and clinical outcomes for Cardinal Health, at an Insight Session Monday titled, “Precision Medicine: Integrating Genomics into Pharmacy Practice.” Both pharmacy leaders urged their colleagues to align their businesses and practice capabilities with the explosive health breakthrough potential offered by pharmacogenomics, also known as PGx.
The potential health benefits of PGx are huge, Chater said. So, too, is the field’s growth potential as an industry.
The reason: Basing a drug regimen on a particular patient’s distinct, individual genetic makeup can significantly increase the effectiveness of that therapy, avoid adverse drug reactions and lead to better outcomes for millions of patients by targeting medicines far more effectively. Indeed, Chater said, “Nearly 1 billion prescriptions annually could benefit from pharmacogenomics testing. When you look at [traditional] medication use, it’s been pretty much a shotgun approach,” with many patients failing to respond to a particular medicine — or even suffering negative effects — simply because of their genetic aversion to that medicine or their inability to respond. But with the precision patient therapy offered by genomics, she added, “there’s no reason we can’t get the right medicine, in the right dosage, to the right patient, every time.”