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Expatriates may soon be claiming for personalised medicine on their international private medical insurance, as this field is said to be expanding.
President of the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) Edward Abrahams argued "advances in science and technology" have resulted in a wider number of tools with which patients can be diagnosed.
It "represents the integration of therapeutics and molecular diagnostics" and although it utilises genomic information, the sector is not restricted to it exclusively, he declared.
Although healthcare has always demonstrated a form of personalisation – in that professionals attempt to direct the most sensible treatments to each patient – recent innovations have enhanced this, the expert asserted.
Specialist in general and pharmaceutical medicine Dr Malcolm Vanderburg recently explained young white people respond to beta blockers in a different manner to elderly or black individuals, while a person's gender has been found to alter the efficacy of several medicines.
Mr Abrahams claimed new products are "coming on to the market all the time", with diagnostic or therapeutic materials with the potential to change the field dramatically constantly being developed.
He said the challenge of the PMC is to promote this industry, claiming health outcomes will be boosted, medicine will be improved and systemic expenditure can be curtailed through these innovations.
Currently, "healthcare costs are growing much more rapidly than most countries can afford", making these developments particularly important, the expert continued.
However, there is an "ethical and potential legal challenge" in the field, he added.
Mr Abrahams asked, what should be done for a patient with a life-threatening condition when it has been determined the selected drugs will not be effective in the vast majority of cases?
If they will only respond one in every ten times, it is not known what to do under personalised healthcare, the expert remarked.
This is "one of the major issues that we don't really have a good answer for yet", he declared.
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