The obstacles facing the development of genetics-based personalized medicine are described online in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. Sandra Soo-Jin Lee highlights the problematic use of race and ethnicity as classification tools for genetically distinct populations.
Pharmacogenomics requires classifying people into populations based on genetics. Pharmaceutical companies and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have already set a trajectory for the development of race-based drugs. But researchers and practitioners have no standard system to define race and ethnicity. Furthermore, the racial categories that exist do not fit neatly with the range of human genetic differences. Despite these problems, marketing medications to specific populations remains easy and attractive to the pharmaceutical industry. This raises several concerns over the exploitation of race as a marketing tool. Individuals will be led to believe that certain drugs are tailored to them in the absence of sufficient supporting scientific data.
The author argues that addressing the issue of the role of race in the search for effective drugs is critical to the development of pharmacogenomics.
Sandra Soo-Jin Lee (Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, USA)
Carrie Nathans (Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics)
Full text available online.
(C) Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza