Indian healthcare looks at pharmacogenomics in patient care as comprehensive genetic tests gain ground

Indian healthcare looks at pharmacogenomics in patient care as comprehensive genetic tests gain ground

Posted on November 15, 2023 Updated on November 13, 2023

Indian healthcare looks at pharmacogenomics, the study of influence of genetic factors on drug response, in patient care as comprehensive genetic tests gain ground. Global healthcare sector has witnessed a paradigm shift with the emergence of pharmacogenomics (PGx) as a game changing trend.According to Amol Naikawadi, joint managing director & preventive healthcare specialist, Indus Health Plus, pharmacogenomics is being evaluated for its potential use as a tool for safer and efficient drug prescription. Countries like the Netherlands, Taiwan, the US and the UK have successfully implemented various PGx programmes, solidifying their importance in patient care.  In India, PGx is gaining recognition for its potential to revolutionize healthcare. While awareness among clinicians is increasing to some extent, there exists a significant gap in practical implementation with insufficient knowledge on genetics, lack of awareness on testing availability and access. Acceptance of PGx testing as a standard practice faces hurdles, and is used in a few specialities, like oncology and psychiatry, in clinical practice, he added. According to Indus Health Plus’s unpublished survey data, while 93% of clinicians were aware about pharmacogenomics, only 51% have basic knowledge about its implementation. A mere 17% have incorporated PGx information into their practice, citing a gap in awareness (40%), complexity of integration (40%), and limited training (40%) as key barriers. The majority of PGx testing currently is done for select drugs in reactive settings or as companion diagnostics by clinicians, and there is still a long road to implementing it pre-emptively in a hospital setting worldwide. Bridging this gap is crucial for harnessing the full potential of precision medicine. Overcoming these challenges will pave the way for a more tailored and effective preventive healthcare ecosystem in India.For Indian healthcare sector, pharmacogenomics can emerge as a game-changer. With the FDA’s increasing emphasis on pharmacogenomics testing for certain drugs, it can become paramount for Indian healthcare to integrate this genomic approach into their standard clinical practice. The ability to tailor medications to an individual’s genetic profile has the potential to revolutionize therapeutic strategies, to be effective, safe and precise. Accessibility to pharmacogenomics test at an affordable price, trained professionals translating the genomics results into easy to understand clinical recommendations, improved analytical accuracy, and standard regulatory guidelines are some of the key challenges that needs to be addressed before realizing the full potential of pharmacogenomics testing. Regulatory frameworks and concerns surrounding data privacy, coverage in insurance and rules to protect against genetic discrimination also demand careful consideration.  As the industry continues to evolve, the integration of PGx is set to redefine how healthcare sector operate in the Indian market, he said. Our pharmacogenetic solution, MEDNAwise enables personalized treatment, reducing adverse reactions and optimizing drug prescriptions, thus bring down overall hospitalization costs. Integrating MEDNAwise into preventive healthcare not only aligns with global trends but also addresses the unique healthcare landscape of India, he said. While the strides in pharmacogenomics are promising, challenges persist. Education and training for healthcare professionals in this rapidly evolving field need to be prioritized. Additionally, ensuring accessibility to PGx testing and addressing data privacy concerns are critical for its widespread implementation. Overcoming implementation challenges will be pivotal in realizing the full impact of this ground breaking approach, said Naikawadi.

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