Author(s): Blankstein S
Pharmacogenomics is the branch of pharmacology which looks at the influence of genetic variation on drug response, connecting particular genetic markers with the effectiveness or safety of a drug. Pharmacogenomic products promise to improve medical treatment, lower health care costs, and make the new drug pipeline for FDA approval more efficient. In the last fifteen years, the FDA has approved pharmacogenomic drugs to treat a variety of cancers, HIV-AIDS, and coronary artery disease. Yet, progress in the field of pharmacogenomics has lagged behind the optimistic predictions of many researchers and policymakers. A lack of clear regulatory guidance dealing with pharmacogenomic products has been a major barrier to progress in the field. The FDA has, however, made some headway. In a series of guidance documents released between 2005 and 2011, the FDA has clarified much of its policy with respect to the development, approval, and labeling of pharmacogenomic products. Despite these efforts, many regulatory questions remain unanswered. This paper highlights a number of these regulatory gaps and provides recommendations to address them in a way which encourages increased development and clinical uptake of pharmacogenomic products.