Economic evaluations of pharmacogenetic approaches in infectious diseases: a review of current approaches and evaluation of critical aspects affecting their quality

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Paolo Meoni *
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Paolo Meoni |


Pharmacogenetics holds great potential for improving the effectiveness of treatment modalities in infectious diseases by taking into account the genetic determinants of both the host and infectious agents’ individuality. Better utilization of resources and improved therapeutic efficiency are the expected outcomes of personalized medicine using pharmacogenetic and pharmacogenomics information made available by technological advances. However, there has been growing concern in the clinical community regarding the evaluation of the true benefits of these approaches. This perception is partly due to the limited number and perceived poor quality of economic evaluations in this field, and initiatives aimed at harmonizing and communicating strategies improving the quality of these studies and their acceptance by the clinical community are greatly needed. This paper reviews current literature of economic evaluations of pharmacogenetics interventions guiding pharmacotherapy in infectious diseases. PubMed and the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination databases were searched using a combination of five broad research terms related to pharmacogenetic approaches, and papers relative to economic evaluations of pharmacogenetic interventions in infectious diseases retained for further analysis. Using these criteria, a total of 14 papers were included in this review. The area of economic evaluation of pharmacogenetic interventions in infectious diseases remains understudied and would benefit from greater harmonization. The main weaknesses of evaluations reviewed in this paper seem to be represented by poor evidence of pharmacogenetic marker validation, inconsistencies in the selection of costs and utility included in the economic models and the choice of sensitivity analysis. All these factors limit the overall transparency of the studies, greater acceptance of their results and applicability to diverse and possibly resourcelimited environments where these approaches could be expected to have the greater impact.

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