The Future of Genetic Testing & Treatments: Approaching the Tipping Point

While precision medicine and genetic testing are not new to the health care landscape, the sheer number of tests and the cost of treatments available has skyrocketed recently – with 10 new genetic tests entering the U.S. market daily.

Last week, 120 employers and industry leaders came together in Washington, DC for the Business Group’s Employers’ Summit on Health Care Costs & Solutions. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Kathryn Phillips, founder and director of the UCSF Center for Translational and Policy Research on Personalized Medicine regarding the evolving landscape of genetic tests and treatments and the ways to evaluate their economic value.

While precision medicine and genetic testing are not new to the health care landscape, the sheer number of tests and the cost of treatments available has skyrocketed recently – with 10 new genetic tests entering the U.S. market daily.

Source: Personalized Medicine Coalition. The Personalized Medicine Report: Opportunity, Challenges and the Future. 2017

Dr. Phillips also discussed the All of Us Research Program – the most expansive research project of its kind – funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The program aims to accelerate research in precision medicine by gathering data from 1 million or more people living in the U.S. More significantly, it was recently announced that the program would pilot the return of genetic test results back to participants, including pharmacogenetic and disease-associated variants as recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Genetic testing coverage is new, largely uncharted territory for employers. From simply sorting through the countless test offerings on the market to determining which ones carry the most promise from a cost and quality of care perspective, employers have their work cut out for them, but are anxious to learn more.