Personalized medicine

Personalized medicine is considered to be the modification of medical treatment to suit each patients individual characteristics. This does not imply that medical services and drugs are made uniquely for a particular patient but it means that it enables the classification of patients into differing subpopulations that can be identified due to their susceptibility either to a disease or treatment of a certain disease. It has always been physicians goals to adjust treatment and fit it to the specific needs and characteristics of the patients (Great Britain Parliament House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, 2009). Personalized medicine is defined by the congress of America as the application of molecular or genomic data to determine the predisposition of a person to a certain condition, to facilitate invention and clinical testing of the upcoming products and to target a more efficient way pf delivering healthcare (Rothwell, 2007). This paper will address the issue of personalized medicine and its potential impacts on the society.
In 2001, the first publication on human genome was made. Since then, there has been an increased utilization of genetic techniques in the filed of personalized medicine. Personalized medicine may be taken to be the extension of the conventional methods in treating and understanding diseases. However, it goes further than this since it has more accuracy. It involves the use of a patients variation of genes to guide treatment and the drugs that can be used in order to come up with better results. It also uses the same in order to reduce the detrimental side effects. It as well affects a patients dosage for a particular prescription because genes can be used to detect a patients absorption rate. The knowledge of a patients genetic make up can show hisher vulnerability of some conditions that have not yet occurred. This would help the patient and the doctor to come up with prevention and monitoring plans. Generally, personalized medicine implies that a patient can get the right drug which is tailor-made to their condition (Great Britain Parliament House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, 2009).
Impact of personalized medicine to the society
    It can be used to manage chronic disease in an easier way because it gives the ability to profile the expression level of metabolites, proteins, sequence of genes and the structure can help in the classification of diseases and making choice of the most appropriate drugs for the patient. This would allow easier management of complex diseases like Alzheimers, cancer and heart disease among others. These diseases are usually considered to be a healthcare systems burden due to their chronic nature (Hedgecoe, 2004). 
Development of drugs is an expensive and lengthy process. In theory, the use of pharmacogenomic data regarding the genes of the patient has an effect on the responses to drugs and therefore, it can be used to reduce the cost and time in which a certain drug is developed. It is said that it has the possibility of lowering the amount of drug failures since it would enable the researchers to give their attention to the populations of patients where safety or efficacy has a higher chance of being proved. The implication is that researchers can have more targeted clinical trials which are likely to be more successful (Great Britain Parliament House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, 2009). 
    Pharmacogenomics can help to cut on the costs in that they make the length of the clinical trials shorter. It is also said to reduce the rate of drug failure. In general, the implication is that people can now have more effective drugs that take shorter time and lower costs to be tried. Over the years, the drug companies have lost a lot of money due to the abandonment of research projects. They do this because some trials have failed and have produced negative effects. However, personalized medicine could be used because a drug can be associated with genetic tests still at the stage of clinical research. This would help in the identification of the drugs that are likely to work and those that might not work. All these would be done by the use of genetic codes. This could be useful to the drug companies that have back catalogues since these can be taken back for clinical trials whereby a more selective group could be used. This kind of revival may possibly lead to the successful utilization of older products with an identified and specified type of patients. This would save drug companies a lot of money (Hedgecoe, 2004).
    Another impact of personalized medicine is that it is likely to increase the rate at which patients comply. More patients might be willing to take their drugs for certain conditions if they are effective. It will also give patients an assurance, especially if after consuming the drugs they do not suffer from any negative side effects. This means that we would have healthier nation with fit people who are likely to contribute not only to the economy of the state but also to other aspects of their lives. The drug companies are also likely to make more money since patients will buy drugs more readily. This in itself has more implications as such drug companies are likely to expand due to the increase in their sale volumes hence profits. This further implies that there will be more job opportunities, thus reducing the rate of unemployment and the crimes that are related to idleness (Hedgecoe, 2004).
    Personalized medicine affects the insurers in that they are expensive in terms of diagnosis and individualized medication. Majority of the private companies in America do not reimburse for tests that are genetic. This means that the current health care system can not efficiently provide personalized medicine. On the other hand, due to the high expense involved in the tests, many people can not afford to have them. This implies that it is not every one who will benefit from the personalized medicine it will only benefit the few who can afford while the rest will continue to use the conventional methods of treatment (Hedgecoe, 2004). 
    The last implication is that personalized medicine is likely to cause mistrust at the workplace. The persons information which will include the genomes of the said individuals is likely to be known by more people and especially in the companies that do not respect confidentiality. This would come loaded with other problems (Rothwell, 2007). 
    Personalized medicine is likely to face some challenges as more companies practice the same. The production and the trials of the personalized medicine will definitely be very expensive. It also requires advanced technology which may not be affordable to many. This would mean that the medical researchers would have to use less people with the trial cohort and this might compromise the reliability and validity of the results. In the end, there might not be any difference between personalized medicine and the conventional methods of treating (Hedgecoe, 2004).
    The companies which are ready to produce personalized medicine may face a few regulatory challenges. The regulatory bodies would have to change their policies in order to accommodate them. Failure to do this would mean that such companies will not have commercial or economic incentives to include Pharmacogenomics within their programmes for clinical trials. This will be the end of personalized medicine (Hedgecoe, 2004). 
Personalized medicine is an issue that has brought controversy due to the cost and the other factors involved. Although people might want to use it, it is very expensive and without the support of the insurance companies, few can afford it. This means that only a few people can afford it until the pharmacological companies lower the cost of testing and the prices are reduced. The law enforcers are yet to incorporate the same into law. This means that the companies involved stand a higher chance of loss in case it is not supported by the state in which they are in. While it might have all those challenges, there is a reason to support it because it can mean and end to the terminal illnesses. This would save not only on loss to the family due to high death rates as a result of chronic disease, but also to the economy whose labor force would not be eliminated by such diseases. However, research needs to be done on the negative health implications of personalized medicine. People should be made aware of the personalized medicine and its pros and cons for them to make informed choices regarding the same.


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