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Study Shows Low Rates of Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Among Medical, Pharmacy Students

A review of the knowledge and attitudes of medical and pharmacy students to pharmacogenomics (PGx) is presented this week in The Pharmacogenomics Journal, revealing that these majority of these students have an inadequate understanding the field. PGx, the study of interindividual variations in the genome to determine the response of a patient to a drug, is a growing branch of molecular genetics, and several surveys have been conducted to gauge stakeholders' knowledge around it. Still, there is a need to synthesize these reports systematically because they have been conducted in different countries and have variabilities in appraisal outcomes. To that end, investigators from China's Army Medical University analyzed 15 international studies involving more than 5,500 medical and pharmacy students and synthesized the findings, revealing that only 28 percent of the students had an adequate knowledge of PGx. Notably, 65 percent of those surveyed were willing to have a PGx test for their own risk assessment, 78 percent planned to incorporate PGx into future practice, and 32 percent were satisfied with the current PGx component of their curriculum. Students also showed concerns around PGx testing with respect to ethical, confidentiality, and privacy issues. "Pharmacogenomics research data collected so far indicate that this area will grow in the future to strongly influence therapeutics," the study's authors write. "Thus, there is a need to update curricular content besides offering an adequate amount of knowledge at institutions."