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NPC, UMD Study: Factors That Cause Different Treatment Responses Are Not Well Understood or Studied
Date:11/5/2013

differences among patients with respect to optimal treatment strategies, as well as survival across various subgroups. Study authors reviewed existing literature and other evidence on the topic, which showed that "factors related to the clinical signs/symptoms, laboratory tests and disease severity have been extensively studied," but "few articles studied the role of nonbiologic factors in treatment outcomes."

"It's clear that more work needs to be done so that we can better target treatments to patients," said Dr. Robert Dubois, chief science officer, National Pharmaceutical Council. "Some organizations that are funding comparative effectiveness research—like the Patient-Centered Outcomes Institute—are beginning to fund studies that more closely examine the individual impact, but we need to encourage the practice more broadly."

The study also highlights the many challenges faced by health care decision-makers because of the lack of evidence regarding individual treatment effects. To address these challenges, the study authors suggest that individual treatment effects should be taken into account by physicians, when applying treatment decisions to diverse populations; by researchers, when designing clinical trials and interpreting the results; by regulatory bodies that approve drugs and might not recognize the positive or negative effects on specific populations; and by payers, to ensure that a wide range of treatment options are available to patients, especially for conditions with diverse treatment effects.

NPC has been examining and funding research on the challenge of individual treatment effects for some time. Most recently, NPC hosted a conference and a user-friendly booklet, The Myth of Average: Why Individual Treatment Differences Matter, and

SOURCE National Pharmaceutical Council
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