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Medco Announces Research Collaboration with FDA Focused on Personalized Medicine
Date:8/18/2008

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The research agreement extends to Aug. 31, 2010, during which time Medco will deliver a series of reports to the FDA about pharmacogenomic testing. The topics to be studied will address the safety of prescription drugs, physician participation in pharmacogenomics testing, the usefulness of the tests in prescribing, and quantifying prescription information about drugs that have genetic information in their labels. Medco's reports will be derived from clinical settings, including one that will examine whether physicians are willing to change the dose of a prescription based on a genetic test result. Medco's database of pharmacy claims will supply a large portion of the data to be used in the reports for the FDA.

"Medco's partnership with the FDA should help establish gene testing as a tool to help lower health care costs and improve the quality of care," Epstein said. "This will come from reducing waste from treatments that do not work and also from helping prevent unnecessary hospitalizations from incorrect dosages or other adverse drug events."

Medco plans on submitting portions of the research from this partnership to peer-reviewed journals for publication with an eye on building the body of evidence supporting the value of these tests.

Medco has existing research collaborations with Mayo Clinic studying genetic consideration in the use of warfarin, and with LabCorp regarding breast cancer patients using tamoxifen. Completion of the tamoxifen study is expected this year and the warfarin study is anticipated next year. The company anticipates additional development partnerships with private companies, academic institutions and other health care entities.

Pharmacogenomics revolution

Unique differences in an individual's genes can cause variations in how many prescription drugs are metabolized in the body. These differences affect the speed of which a patient metabolizes medication -- affecting safety or efficacy from too hi
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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