Physicians face significant new liability risks with advent of personalized medicine era

Legal liability is a powerful driver that could dramatically hasten the development of personalized medicine, according to a newly published article by genetics and law experts at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

Side effects from prescription drugs kill more than 100,000 Americans every year, according to 1998 data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. A growing number of these deaths could be prevented by the use of genetic testing, experts say.

"Individuals injured by adverse drug effects are increasingly likely to bring lawsuits alleging that they have a polymorphism or biomarker conferring susceptibility to the drug that should have been identified and used to alter their drug treatment," wrote Gary Marchant, executive director of the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology at Arizona State University.

The commentary, Legal pressures and incentives for personalized medicine, is published in the current issue of Personalized Medicine, a journal of Future Medicine (www.futuremedicine.com). It was co-authored by Robert J. Milligan, a graduate student in the College's LL.M. in Biotechnology & Genomics program and a shareholder at the Phoenix-based law firm of Gallagher & Kennedy, and Brian Wilhelmi, a second-year law student in the ASU/Mayo Clinic M.D.-J.D. program.

The legal, regulatory and ethical issues surrounding personalized medicine, or pharmacogenomics, is the focus of a March 2 conference at the College of Law. (https://www.law.asu.edu/personalizedmedicine) It is defined as using information about a person's genetic makeup to tailor strategies for the detection, treatment or prevention of disease.

The incorporation of personalized medicine into everyday clinical practice faces significant hurdles, the authors wrote. These include scientific uncertain

Contact: Judy Nichols
Arizona State University

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