Personalized Medicine and The Pharmacist

Personalized Medicine in Canada

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The future of the profession of pharmacy is forever evolving with the emergence of new technologies and modern advancements. The role of personalized medicine in the Canadian health care system is one advancing field that will likely prove to be a central component of the new pharmaceutical landscape.

Personalized medicine will change the way many medications are prescribed in Canada. Prior genome sequencing and testing will allow medical professionals to assess the efficacy and safety of medications on an individual basis before initializing treatment. This optimization of drug therapy will lead to better health outcomes and prevent vast amounts of money spent on treating adverse effects of medications that could have been predicted and prevented through a personalized medicine approach.  In addition, genetic investigation into diseases such as cancer, will enable us to predict which drugs will be effective and put them into use more quickly.

Recently, the federal government of Canada has announced they will be investing $67.5 million into personalized medicine. This move signals that health care administrators and government staff also believe many great things can come from implementing a system of personalized medicine into our current practices.

As pharmacy students, many of us can see the benefits to both patients and the eventual reduction in health care costs through avoiding the use of drugs that wont work, and reducing adverse effects. However, many Canadians see this as not only a waste of money, but also an invasion of privacy. Ideally we want every Canadians DNA to be collected, tested and interpreted prior to them becoming sick, but before this can happen, laws surrounding access to this information need to be developed.

The role pharmacists play in personalized medicine has yet to be established, however, given pharmacists’ expert knowledge of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug properties and role in patient-centered care, we believe our profession is well positioned to take a central role in implementing and maintaining personalized medicine in Canada.

By: Sam Nolan, Angel Chan, Maryn Dempster, Raman Dhaliwal, Youna Choi, Valerie Webber and Kate Lafreniere

Written by klafreniere

February 1st, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Posted in Personalized Medicine

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