New World of Genetic Tests and Drugs Is Coming at You
How to cope with the avalanche of information? It won’t be easy. Of the approximately 70,000 genetic tests that have emerged from clinical laboratories only a minutely small number have gained a consensus among scientists as being medically actionable, and the CDC, so far, has identified just four that have enough evidence to possibly be used to screen asymptomatic people. How can you make sure that the tests are being properly used? Could genetic counselors as standalone practitioners be part of the answer?
Then, there’s the expense of gene therapy. Thirty million Americans have a rare disease. If 12.2% are uninsured, that leaves about 26.3 million covered lives. What if 5% of them get an $850,000 treatment? The bill would be $1.227 trillion, four times the nation’s 2016 total prescription drug bill of $328.6 billion.