Precision Medicine Vision

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Precision Medicine Blog

Health Economics of Precision Medicine

November 15, 2016

On September 21-22, we were honored to co-host, with the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Pre-Conference on the Economic Dimensions of Personalized and Precision Medicine on Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus. This meeting highlights the wide variety of scholars and stakeholders who are bringing their diverse expertise to bear on the broad goals of CPMI – in this case, a key financial issue: health care reimbursement.  At this event, I met leading economists from all over the country who are interested in measuring the effects of precision medicine in our healthcare system. We also heard examples using health data from around the world. 

My colleague and co-organizer of the event, Jack Rowe explained, “again and again we saw the critical value of augmenting a purely economic analysis with a clinical perspective to enhance the real world relevance of the work to patients and doctors.” As a pre-conference, participants presented proposed studies. We all had the opportunity to give and receive critical feedback from peers - bringing clinical and the economic expertise. There were discussions between economists and clinicians that addressed how to best formulate study methodologies to answer the most relevant economic questions in the clinical environment. 

One of the most interesting questions is how to prescribe drugs in a way that is cost effective and maximizes patient outcomes, in cases where multiple drugs exist to treat a patient’s condition. My colleague Frank Lichtenberg at Columbia Business School is working on this question by leveraging genomic databases to analyze thousands of patients’ health outcomes. He pointed out the opportunity to use existing data to analyze the impact precision medicine might already be having on health economics.

This event precedes an academic conference on the same topic to take place in September 2017. I look forward to next year’s conference, and the growth of this new field, the health policy and economics of precision medicine, which Columbia and our partners have the opportunity to help define.
This conference was co-organized by Ernst Berndt of MIT, Dana Goldman of the University of Southern California, and Jack Rowe of Columbia University. 

Jack Rowe is the Julius B. Richmond Professor of Health Policy and Aging at Columbia University, and Frank Lichtenberg is the Courtney C. Brown Professor of Business at Columbia University. 



Jonathan Pritchard 

Professor in the Departments of Genetics and Biology at Stanford University and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute