Stratified medicine shows promise for NHS

New research from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) shows that 90 per cent of clinicians and other health professionals surveyed believe that stratified medicine will positively impact the UK health system, particularly in non-cancer applications.

Publication of the report, ‘Stratified medicine in the NHS: An assessment of the current landscape and implementation challenges for non-cancer applications’, coincides with today’s ABPI R&D conference, ‘Stratified Medicine: Discovery to Patient – Mind the Gap’, which brings experts together to discuss this personalised approach to drug development, whereby biological markers are used to subdivide patients into groups based on their risk of developing specific diseases, or their response to particular therapies.

Sixty-one per cent of the 300 health professionals polled by Concentra Consulting said they had a ‘high interest’ in emerging uses of non-cancer stratified medicines, though just 25 per cent reported good access to non-cancer stratified medicines in their area currently.

It also showed that 40 per cent of respondents felt that the NHS is achieving little or no benefit from non-cancer stratified medicine but that almost a third (32 per cent) believed it gives patients access to treatments they otherwise would not have had, highlighting the significant opportunities and challenges of stratified medicine in the UK.

Bina Rawal, ABPI’s Research, Medical and Innovation director said: “Stratified medicine has real potential to change the way we identify and manage health problems and we have an exceptional opportunity in the UK to realise the benefits.

“Already significant progress has been made in the treatment of a number of cancers and this report highlights the number of non-cancer applications already in use in the NHS and the increasing interest and enthusiasm amongst health professionals of further adopting their use.”

The report, supported by the Royal College of Pathologists, showed that there are currently 41 applications for non-cancer stratified medicines, about which there is variable knowledge and use across the NHS. The largest numbers of applications were in infection, followed by respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

The majority of clinicians and health professionals agreed (98 per cent) that there were significant challenges to implementing stratified medicine in the NHS, with 90 per cent claiming that the health system would need to change to support its adoption.

In the report, the ABPI makes six recommendations on reducing challenges and exploiting opportunities in horizon scanning, commissioning, provision and decision making.

“Although overall progress in stratified medicine has perhaps been slower than hoped, it represents important steps towards realising the significant benefits to patients, prescribers and healthcare payers of a stratified medicine approach,” said Bina Rawal, adding that the industry was committed to ensure that “the right patient receives the right medicine at the right time”.

Recognising the general lack of understanding around non-cancer stratified medicines, Professor Ian Cree, chair of the Interspecialty Committee on Molecular Pathology, Royal College of Pathologists, said that the report provided “a baseline understanding from which we can start to seek solutions” to create a health system that would “allow stratified medicines to flourish in the UK for the benefit of patients”.

Access the full report here.


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