Personalized medicine can make patients healthier while lowering systemic costs.
That’s according to a recent report from the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC), “The Personalized Medicine Report: Opportunity, Challenges, and the Future.”
Personalized medicine is an evolving field in which physicians use diagnostic tests to determine which medical treatments will work best for each patient, according to the coalition. By combining the data from those tests with an individual’s medical history, circumstances and values, healthcare providers can develop targeted treatment and prevention plans.
The report notes that 132 personalized medicines are available today, a 62% increase from 2012. PMC categorizes personalized medicines as therapeutic products for which the label includes reference to specific biological markers, identified by diagnostic tools, that help guide decisions and/or procedures for their use in individual patients.
“Personalized medicine aligns extremely well with managed care,” says Daryl Pritchard, PhD, vice president, science policy, PMC. “It provides high-value prevention and treatment strategies based on individual patient molecular information.”
Advanced diagnostics and targeted therapies are key tools for managed care, he adds. “Therapies that are targeted for use in patient subpopulations and individuals based on their molecular characteristics improve efficacy and/or safety, thereby allowing physicians to provide the best treatment to each patient as early in their care as possible.”
This in turn can bring down costs as patients avoid ineffective or harmful treatment options and downstream expenses, says Pritchard. “Furthermore, as personalized medicine is increasingly recognized as a leading paradigm in healthcare, more patients will be attracted to healthcare delivery systems that promise to practice more effective personalized care,” he says.
Specific disease benefits
Precision medicine is changing treatment and giving hope to people living with cancer and other diseases, says Jay G. Wohlgemuth, MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president, R&D, Quest Diagnostics.
“Advances in technology and science have identified many promising opportunities to improve outcomes through insights revealed by novel diagnostic solutions,” Wohlgemuth says.
According to the report, personalized medicine improves quality by:
Shifting the emphasis in medicine from reaction to prevention;
Directing targeted therapy and reducing trial-and-error prescribing;
Reducing adverse drug reactions;
Revealing additional targeted uses for medicines based on molecular pathways;
Increasing patient adherence to treatment; and
Reducing high-risk invasive testing procedures.