Saving healthcare dollars with DNA

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Question: I take several prescribed drugs and I’m having negative side effects. My neighbor is being prescribed the same drugs and he’s just fine. Why wouldn’t a drug created to treat a specific problem work as intended?

Answer: You are correct to rationalize that if a drug is designed to fight a certain illness, it should do the job wherever it is applied. The drug is the same, but the patients vary. We’re all unique and what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. This is why you often hear a doctor say try this for 30 days and we’ll evaluate its effect. S/He may need to adjust the dosage or switch to another drug or brand.

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One of the most exciting tests I’ve seen addresses this very problem: Pharmacogentics. We can now create your genetic profile from a DNA sample and predict your response to prescribed drugs, both therapeutic and adverse effects. This is a huge step from our current process of adjusting and experimenting with different drugs to get the best response and can save an individual hundreds of dollars in copays and deductibles. Self-insured companies can save millions of dollars for the same reason. I predict you will see more companies offering this as a benefit to reduce healthcare costs.

Driving this trend are the 106,000 deaths and more than 2 Million serious events caused by adverse drug reactions in the US each year. Adverse drug reactions are responsible for 5-7% of hospital admissions in the US and Europe and lead to the withdrawal of 4% of new drugs. Increased safety, improved effectiveness and reduced healthcare expenses are benefits we can achieve when we combine DNA and Drugs.

Have you ever had a doctor prescribe medication and ask that “we” try this for 30 days and evaluate the effects? We honestly don’t know how you will respond to the medication. We may need to make adjustments in dosage or change the medication.

As seen in the Arizona Republic March 25, 2015

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