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Senate Considering Personalized Medicine in Budget

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Senate will consider an amendment to the 2010 budget that would promote the use of personalized medicine in comparative effectiveness research and would prohibit Federal health care programs from using data from such research to deny coverage for treatments and services.

The Senate version of the 2010 budget resolution includes a section that was in President Barack Obama's budget that called for using money from a healthcare fund in the bill to support comparative effectiveness research "that can drive evidence-based medicine and build a rapidly-learning health care system."

Senator John Kyl (R – Ariz.) today introduced language to the bill that would amend it to ensure that comparative effectiveness research "accounts for advancements in genomics and personalized medicine, the unique needs of health disparity populations, and differences in the treatment response and the treatment preferences of patients."

The amendment also would tailor the bill so that it would "protect all patients by prohibiting the use of data obtained from comparative effectiveness research to deny coverage of items or services under Federal health care programs."

The amendment did not have a co-sponsor from the majority party, which led The Personalized Medicine Coalition's Public Policy Director Amy Miller to suggest that it may be unlikely to make it into the final budget.

PMC supports making decisions about coverage "based on sound science," Miller explained in an e-mail today, which means there must be "mechanisms for new evidence to be used to update [comparative effectiveness research] findings."

Although PMC lauds the move to include personalized medicine in comparative effectiveness, Miller said, it could not "fully" support the amendment due to the clause related to denial of coverage.

Senator Kyl was scheduled to speak about the issues on the Senate floor this afternoon.

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