For pharmaceutical companies, is personalized medicine more of a threat than an opportunity?  In addition to the development of new drugs, genetic information can also help target the use of current medications (e.g., Plavix).  The use of genetic (or other) information to target patient population subsets is expected to increase drug safety and render cost savings to both insurer and patient, but can it also be expected to limit the potential market and lower pharmaceutical sales?  By potentially enhancing drug safety, personalized medicine is expected to elicit fewer adverse drug reactions, thereby leading to fewer liability claims against drug companies.  Drug development costs rise, however, if preclinical scientists also must isolate a genetic trigger and develop a companion test for a treatment, even if the size of clinical trials can potentially be reduced and additional income can be expected through purchase of both medication and companion diagnostic.  Even when a drug is utilized in target populations, how much risk will be deemed acceptable?   Whether personalized medicine stimulates or inhibits pharmaceutical drug development remains to be determined.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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