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Precision Medicine vs Trial and Error: Why Pharmacogenomics is Increasingly Relevant

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Pharmacogenomics looks at how genetic influences affect an individual’s response to therapeutic medications.

Pharmacogenomics looks at how genetic influences affect an individual’s response to therapeutic medications. Rather than taking the approach that therapy for all people with a certain health condition should begin with the same medication at the same dose, pharmacogenomics has the potential to enable personalized medicine selection and dosing to a degree not previously possible.

As of late 2021, 180 approved drugs were labeled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with genetic factors. While many pharmaco-economic studies suggest that pharmacogenomic testing is cost-effective, a growing body of evidence also highlights the clinical impact of pharmacogenomics.

Estimates indicate that more than 98% of people in the U.S. carry at least one high-risk genomic variant in one of the 12 most-tested pharmacogenetic genes. Presence of such variants suggests that treatment with relevant medicationsmay need to be altered to avoid side effects or optimize efficacy. Therefore, the traditional one-size-fits-all, trial-and-error approach to medication management is inherently risky.

For these reasons and more, providers and payers are increasingly leaning into the potential of pharmacogenomics to select the best therapy for a patient, improve outcomes, reduce downstream costs, and deliver higher-value care.

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