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IOM Looks at the Economics of Genomic Medicine

The Institute of Medicine has released the summary of a workshop it hosted last July to discuss the economic issues likely to arise in the age of genomic medicine.

The workshop brought together economists, regulators, payors, researchers, patients, and other stakeholders to discuss various economic factors likely to influence the integration of genomic data into healthcare.

IOM notes in the report that the workshop was one of a series that it hosted on genomic medicine, "but it was the first focused specifically on economic issues."

The 109-page report outlines "major themes" of the workshop, based on a presentation by Gregory Feero, who was special advisor to the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the time.

Specific economic issues can vary by application and by setting, according to Feero's summary. Therefore, "improved methods are needed for assessing value, personal utility, and patient preferences," the report states.

In addition, public health, clinical care, and academic medicine "have different economic assessment models," which "have to be aligned in a way that makes a difference to patients," the report notes.

Other considerations include the need for better and quicker approaches to perform economic evaluations of genetic and genomic tests since evaluating tests and variants one by one "will be too daunting."

Feero also recommended that economic analyses be integrated into all ongoing whole-genome sequencing clinical studies, and noted that "the economic incentives for test and evidence development under the current system of reimbursement versus a value-based pricing approach that incorporates the intellectual cost of interpretation need to be further explored."

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