Pharmonic Convergence

  • by: |
  • 06/27/2007
Two interesting stories today that both reach the same place -- we need to find ways to get the right medicines to the right people at the right time in the right dose. Let's call it "Pharmonic Convergence."

First story comes from the Pink Sheet and their discussion of FDA's genetic test guidelines.

As reporter David Filmore writes vis-a-vis the FDA's genetic test guidelines:

"The agency drafted the guidance document on pharmacogenetic tests and genetic tests for heritable markers to help shorten development and review times for these products, which are attracting growing attention from the medical community as tools to make more precise disgnoses and, in the case of pharmacogenetic tests, more personalized treatment decisions."

Right now, today such tests exist. It is not, as many will derisively tell you, science fiction. It's science fact. And the fact that most insurance companies don't reimburse for such diagnistic tools is short sighted.

To that point, an article from today's New York Times. Gray Lady scribe Milt Freudenheim reports on a new study by the Integrated Benefits Institute that shows, "Employers that shift too much of the cost of drugs to workers in their company health plans could wind up losing more than they save, through absenteeism and lost productivity, according to a study by health policy researchers."

"Among the 17 employers in the study, conducted by the nonprofit Integrated Benefits Institute, more than half the workers with rheumatoid arthritis were not taking their drugs — in many cases because they considered the out-of-pocket co-payments too high.

As a result, the institute’s study found, the employers incurred $17.2 million in costs from lost productivity, 26 percent more than the estimate of what they would have spent if the workers had taken their arthritis drugs."

The lede of the New York Times article reads, "Health penny wise, medical pound foolish?


Okay -- once more with feeling -- patients (otherwise known as "people," aka "voters") need to be on the right medicines for their conditions. And when payors interpose themselves between doctor and patient, when prescribing decisions are made by accountants (read "evidence-based medicine"), health outcomes decline for the individual and costs go up for the payor.

Let's keep our eye on the prize as we strive to move from acute to a chronic care model for 21st century health care. It's nothing short of critical.

And, after all, that's why we have the Critical Path.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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