A few days ago, I read an article in The Atlantic about precision medicine. But it wasn’t about developing drugs for individuals with specific biomarkers. Instead, it discussed a simpler form of precision medicine that can prevent serious adverse events (SAEs).
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This method can actually fit in your wallet. It’s a card that houses genetic information about you. If you’re being prescribed medication, and a medical professional scans the card’s barcode, they’ll instantly know if you are at risk to certain drugs or drug doses, and can modify their treatment plan accordingly.
This concept reminds me of a simple medical ID tag with basic emergency information, but one that has gone through an extensive digital transformation: from a tag worn on a bracelet or necklace, to a USB drive, and now to a wallet card that houses genomic data. Simple, yet so revolutionary.
We know that people can react differently to certain drugs. It could be for a variety of reasons, such as a bad interaction with another drug or something more inherent, such as specific genes that predispose them to negative reactions. So, why not focus on preventing adverse events with a solution like the “pharmacogenomic wallet card?”
Sure, it’s slightly easier said than done. Genetic tests needs to be administered, and if you want it to work seamlessly with EHR systems, some IT work would be required. That said, it could also work on a much more basic, cost-effective level.
While the FDA mentioned an increased focus on “personalized drug safety” earlier this year, I sit hear wondering why this card isn’t already in everyone’s medical wheelhouse. There’s no question we can all applaud the progress we’re making in developing more targeted and safer drugs, but it’s a mistake that we’re not leveraging the more basic tools we have at our disposable to prevent SAEs and keep everyone safe.