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Cost-effectiveness of pharmacogenetic-guided treatment: are we there yet?

By Moira Verbelen, Michael E Weale, Cathryn M. Lewis

Posted 23 Jul 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/065540 (published DOI: 10.1038/tpj.2017.21)

Pharmacogenetics (PGx) has the potential to personalize pharmaceutical treatments. Many relevant gene-drug associations have been discovered, but PGx guided treatment needs to be cost-effective as well as clinically beneficial to be incorporated into standard healthcare. Progress in this area can be assessed by reviewing economic evaluations to determine the cost-effectiveness of PGx testing versus standard treatment. We performed a review of economic evaluations for PGx associations listed in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Table of Pharmacogenomic Biomarkers in Drug Labeling (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/Pharmacogenetics/ucm083378.htm). We determined the proportion of evaluations that found PGx guided treatment to be cost-effective or dominant over the alternative strategies, and we estimated the impact on this proportion of removing the cost of genetic testing. Of the 130 PGx associations in the FDA table, 44 economic evaluations, relating to 10 drugs, were identified. Of these evaluations, 57% drew conclusions in favour of PGx testing, of which 30% were cost-effective and 27% were dominant (cost-saving). If genetic information was freely available, 75% of economic evaluations would support PGx guided treatment, of which 25% would be cost-effective and 50% would be dominant. Thus, PGx guided treatment can be a cost-effective and even cost-saving strategy. Having genetic information readily available in the clinical health record is a realistic future prospect, and would make more genetic tests economically worthwhile. However, few drugs with PGx associations have been studied and more economic evaluations are needed to underpin the uptake of genetic testing in clinical practice.

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