Pharmacogenetics: Another Broken Contract with Consumers

September 6th, 2006

To the Editor,

This is nothing we haven’t known for years. Robert Pear informed us that drug sales run approximately $180 billion annually, (Growth of National Health Spending Slows Along With Drug Sales, NYT,1/10/06). Yet researchers Ernst and Grizzle informed us that the adverse effects of drugs exceeds $177 billion in annual spending (Drug Related Morbidity and Mortality, Updating the Cost of Illness Model), (J Am Pharm Assoc, 41 (2), 2001.

How much suffering and expense could be prevented by a simple blood test? In a December, 2003 interview, GlaxoSmithKlein vice president, Dr. Alan Roses noted that half the population is unable to benefit from pharmaceuticals due to genetic biodiversity,(Independent.co.uk article, Glaxo chief: Our Drugs do Not Work on Most Patients by S. Connor).

These articles reflect the institutionalization of prescription drug misuse. CAPitalism does not stand for CAPtive consumers, forced to purchase goods and services on a trial and error basis. Capitalism is a contract between vendors and consumers. We can only choose wisely when provided with full disclosure of the terms of that contract.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Letters

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  1. doctore

    Hmmm. Well, it’s true that pharmacogenetics holds a lot of promise.

    I’ve been blogging on the subject for the past few months (http://talk.genesanddrugs.com). You ask how much suffering can be prevented by a simple blood test? The answer is quite a bit, but, for now, the available pharmacogenetic tests are limited to a few dozen drugs, they are relatively expensive, they are not easily ordered through a typical clinical laboratory, AND most doctors are unaware of just how much work has been done in this area. There’s a huge educational effort needed.

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