Precision Medicine needs investment to meet its potential in Europe

The advances in genomic and biomarker science in recent years have heralded the advent of precision medicine. But will these technical developments lead to actual improvements in diagnosis, medicines and treatment?

A new study by the International Quality Network for Pathology (IQN Path) in collaboration with the European Cancer Patient Network (ECPC) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has identified a series of barriers that must be overcome if the potential of precision medicine is to be realised.

The report highlights that there are a range of practical obstacles to the adoption of precision medicine which vary from country to country. A range of biomarkers were assessed, and found inconsistencies across Europe in terms of factors like access and reimbursement – leading to inequalities, not just from country to country, but also within countries. Given that Europe generally has relatively high healthcare investment levels, the inequalities are highlighted in regions with lower funding, such as Eastern Europe.

The study identifies a pathway to improve both access and quality within Europe. Alignment, such as parallel medicine approvals, together with ring-fenced budgets, education, and centralised data management will all help to achieve a harmonised approach to precision medicine. 

Director-General of EFPIA, Nathalie Moll, added, “We cannot afford to be complacent. It is a matter of urgency to provide physicians and health systems with the biomarker testing infrastructures and processes required in order to deliver the benefits of these therapeutic advances to patients, and to ensure that the pace of innovation can be sustained. This study is a strong first step in that direction and we look forward to working with all stakeholders in the health and policy space to make this a reality”.