Emerging technologies

Pharmacogenetics: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Innovation


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Published: November 2009
ISBN 978-92-64-07680-8
132 pages


Pharmacogenetics helps us understand the relationship between an individual’s genetic make-up and the way medicines work for each person. This book reviews the use of pharmacogenetics across all stages of the health innovation cycle from research through to uptake by doctors and patients. It focuses on how to optimise the use of pharmacogenetics to deliver effective innovations for public health, and design policies that enhance their economic and social benefits.


The book argues for large-scale studies to validate the biomarkers that underpin pharmacogenetics and policies to share the cost and risk of using  pharmacogenetics to improve the use of existing medicines. Governments and others need to align regulatory, reimbursement and other incentives and work with industry to measure better the impacts of pharmacogenetics. Health systems need to take positive steps to adapt to the use of pharmacogenetics and ensure that health professionals receive adequate training.


This publication is part of the OECD Innovation Strategy, a comprehensive policy strategy to harness innovation for stronger and more sustainable growth and development, and to address the key societal challenges of the 21st century.

Table of contents

Executive Summary (download pdf)

Chapter 1. Introduction to the Policy Issues

Chapter 2. The Supporting Infrastructures for Pharmacogenetics

Chapter 3. Pharmacogenetics and Drug Development

Chapter 4. Business Models for Pharmacogenetics

Chapter 5. Physician and Patient Demand for Pharmacogenetics

Chapter 6. Regulatory Authorities and Reimbursement Mechanisms

Chapter 7. Conclusions

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