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156K cancer patients could miss out on life-saving drugs every year in US and Europe

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156K cancer patients could miss out on life-saving drugs every year in US and Europe

156K cancer patients could miss out on life-saving drugs every year in US and Europe
May 19
09:00 2017

Irish medtech company Diaceutics has announced research results showing that more than 156,000 cancer patients in the US and Europe could be missing out on targeted life-saving drugs every year due to suboptimal diagnostic testing – therefore potentially affecting their chances of survival. The company has also found that substandard testing practices are causing pharmaceutical companies in the US and Europe to miss out on up to €15 billion in potential revenues annually.

Every year, 1.7 million cancer patients in the US and Europe undergo tests that determine whether or not there are precision drugs available that are likely to work better with their genetic makeup than more widely prescribed drugs. However, suboptimal testing practices – such as delayed reporting of test results, false negatives and sample management issue – mean that patients and pharmaceutical companies are missing out.

Diaceutics estimates that the figures are in fact much higher, as its data doesn’t take into account the number of patients that aren’t tested at all. The company’s research has found that even some four years after new diagnostic tests become available, just 50% of patients that may be eligible for precision drugs will have been tested by their physician. That, along with suboptimal testing practices, could be causing pharmaceutical companies to be missing out on up to €50 billion annually.

By providing pharmaceutical companies with valuable insights driven by patient testing data, Diaceutics helps them to reach more patients that need to be on specific – and often life-saving – drugs and roll out those drugs faster. The company’s data is gathered through partnerships with more than 230 laboratories that process diagnostic tests. Through its work, Diaceutics has so far helped with the planning and or launch of more than 200 drugs worldwide.

Peter Keeling, CEO, Diaceutics, said: “Precision medicine is already making a huge impact on people’s lives. However, due to questionable diagnostic test practices, patients are missing out on live-saving drugs, while pharmaceutical companies are missing out on the opportunity to reach those patients. Our real-world, real-time research is showing the gaps that exist today.

“Many of the oncology patients that are tested for precision drugs are seriously ill. Physicians therefore need to be able to see the results of those tests as soon as possible. However, novel tests often suffer from issues with sample management, high rates of false negatives and delayed turnaround times, which lead to patients missing out on the drugs they need and therefore potentially facing a much bleaker prognosis.

“Diaceutics is working to change this by bridging the gap between pharmaceutical companies and diagnostics. We work with hundreds of lab partners across the world, gathering and analysing their patient testing data so that we can better understand testing practices. Labs are often severely constrained by ever-reducing reimbursement, yet our demands on them are increasing. Along with our pharma clients, we are working directly with labs to optimise testing. Our data and analytical insights also help pharmaceutical companies understand testing patterns and more effectively integrate proper diagnostic testing into patients’ treatment journeys.

“Medicine is going to become increasingly reliant on diagnostics in the future. In the next 48 months, some 300 new test-dependent drugs or indications will be brought to market. We therefore need to make sure that labs, pathologists, physicians and pharmaceutical companies are perfectly aligned to prepare for this change and ensure patients are receiving the targeted drugs that have the potential to save their lives.”

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