Originally published Jan. 3.
While 2010 produced a number of high-profile news stories in the personalized medicine space — such as Myriad's ongoing efforts to defend its gene patents and direct-to-consumer genomics firms' tribulations with the US Food and Drug Administration and Congress — the stories that captured the most interest among PGx Reporter's readership delved into the complex scientific challenges, business strategies, and legislative issues impacting the field of pharmacogenomics.
The most-read story in PGx Reporter in 2010 explored whether the market introduction of a new anticoagulant, Pradaxa, would relegate pharmacogenetic testing to dose warfarin to the history books before the strategy even sees a chance for adoption. Comparing the cost of genetic testing for a generic drug versus a brand-name treatment, pharmacogenomics experts honed in on the specific subpopulations of patients that might still benefit from PGx-guided warfarin dosing.
Another list topper was a PGx Reporter exclusive analyzing a legislative proposal under consideration by Republication Utah Senator Orrin Hatch that would recognize diagnostics as being distinct from other medical devices. The bill, which is still in the drafting process, would create a Center for Advanced Diagnostics Evaluation and Research responsible for ensuring the safety and efficacy of a new category of tests called "advanced personalized diagnostics," comprising both test kits and laboratory-developed tests.
And as the healthcare reform debate dominated Capitol Hill for the large part of the year, a report on how personalized medicine fit into the emerging healthcare paradigm was also well read.
Although readers were inundated with coverage of the FDA's sudden regulatory action against DTC genomics firms over the summer, they still paid close attention when the agency discussed regulatory strategies for drug/diagnostic combination products, or when it updated labeling for drugs such as Plavix and warfarin to inform patients and doctors of how genetic abnormalities can impact response to these treatments.
Furthermore, stories on the strategies of pharmacogenomics players — ranging from the investment of large pharma to the innovation of small diagnostic companies, adoption by doctors, and insurers' willingness to pay for health interventions based on emerging science — continued to capture readers' attention in 2010.
Coverage of Perlegen's struggles to keep afloat and another report on the pharma behemoth Pfizer's PGx strategy in oncology ranked among the best read stories of the year. And finally, readers were interested in an article exploring how pharmacy-benefit manager Medco is advancing new business models and driving personalized medicine adoption by departing from big pharma's traditional partnership strategy and linking with small diagnostic companies.
Top Ten PGx Stories in 2011: