Ottawa, Ontario (January 2012)- With the successful implementation of personalized cancer medicine in France, Canada is now following suit with a $67.5 million investment to support personalized medicine. According to the CIHR press release, Harper's investment appears to be geared towards developing personalized medicine not only for cancer, but also for a wide range of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric disorder, diabetes, obestiy, arthritis, pain and Alzheimer's disease. By using molecular profiling to match patients with the right drugs, personalized medicine is expected to improve the outcome and cost effectiveness of new treatments.
Canada's Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, indicates that personalized medicine is expected to improve the quality of life of Canadians. "The potential to understand a person's genetic makeup and the specific character of their illness in order to best determine their treatment will significantly improve the quality of life for patients and their families and may show us the way to an improved health care system and even save costs in certain circumstances," says Aglukkaq.
However, France's previous experience with personalized medicine suggests that Canada's mere $67.5 million is hardly enough for what the Harper government is hoping to achieve in personalized health care. Indeed, considering that the French government used approximately €35 million ($47.6 million) to match a single group of EGFR-aberrant lung cancer patients with the cancer drug gefitinib, the cost of personalized drugs is exorbitantly high.
The simple "number-crunching" clearly shows that Harper's investment of a pitiful $67.5 million is only a delusional politician's attempt to launch personalized medicine in Canada. Whether the millions spent in taxpayer's money can make a significant contribution to personalized cancer drugs in Canada is highly questionable, let alone personalized medicine for other diseases.