Tuesday, August 29, 2023

NY Times Opinion Piece Antagonistic to Precision Oncology; PMC Responds

On Saturday, August 5, 2023, the New York Times published an opinion piece which is antagonistic to precision oncology, raising concerns about how effect precision drugs are and raising questions of cost and value.  The piece also notes that minority and other underserved populations are less likely to get genomic testing, an equity issue.  

The piece is by Prof. James Tabery, Philosophy, University of Utah.   The Op Ed is paired with his newly released book 'Tyranny of the Gene," (August 2023, Knopf.)  One of Tabery's main points seems to be that green space, anti-smoking and anti-asbestos programs, and social equity are more important goals than molecular medicine.

The President of the Personalied Medicine Coalition, PMC, responds with a detailed rebuttal on PMC's web site.  Ed Abrahams remarks,

As Tabery notes, personalized medicines come with high price tags, in part because they must recoup research and development costs from limited markets, sometimes as small as a single patient, and because they are hard to discover and develop. But personalized medicines also promise to reduce the overall costs of health care because one-size-fits-all medicines are also expensive for patients and health systems, mainly because they are prescribed to everyone whether they work or not. It is difficult to envision a future in which it will make sense to forego the sophisticated efficiencies of personalized medicine in favor of wasteful trial-and-error approaches that leave too many patients sick for too long.


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