Why Cheaper Genetic Testing Could Cost Us a Fortune


October 30, 2012

A Time article explores the economic, scientific, and ethical questions surrounding whole-genome sequencing. “Most of the people who talk about cost implications talk about how much it costs to do the test,” said Katrina Armstrong, MD, professor of Medicine and chief of General Internal Medicine. “But an enormous amount of how this will impact health care is how it will influence who should get other expensive treatments.” In a Journal of the American Medical Association essay, Armstrong reported that tests of 21 genes could determine which breast-cancer patients were unlikely to benefit from a specific type of chemotherapy — information that could save the health care system $400 million annually. “If genomics can help us understand who will get the most benefit and who will get little or no benefit from an intervention, it will take us a long way towards improving patient outcomes and saving money,” Armstrong said.

See more at Time.