Personalized medicine has been described by analysts PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as a "disruptive influence" that will create both opportunities and challenges for traditional healthcare. According to a PwC report, The Science of Personalized Medicine: translating the Promise into Practice, the market for personalized medicine in the US is already worth $232 billion and is expected to grow 11% annually.
"Medical science and technological advancement have converged with the growing emphasis on health, wellness and prevention sweeping the US to push personalized medicine to a tipping point," David M. Levy, Global Healthcare Leader of PwC, explained in a press statement. "We are now seeing a blurring of the lines between traditional healthcare offerings and consumer-orientated wellness products and services. The market potential is enormous for any company that learns to leverage the science, target individuals and develop products and services that promote health.
The core diagnostic and therapeutic segment of the personalized health market is estimated to be worth $24 billion, and is expected to grow by 10% annually to reach $42 billion by 2015. However, basing its estimates on a broad view of the market that goes beyond drugs and devices to include demand for high-tech storage and data sharing, as well as products and services aimed at consumers' heightened awareness of their own health risks, PwC predicts the market for personalized health and wellbeing as a whole to be worth as much as $452 billion by 2015.
According to the PwC report, the growth of personalized medicine will change the traditional role of healthcare companies; in particular, it will lead to a change of business model as pharma moves away from blockbusters and instead adopts a more collaborative approach that focuses on specialized therapies.
There will also be challenges faced by payers who will have to rethink how they define coverage if they are to embrace personalized medicine. How they approach this new science and adapt their reimbursement schemes will influence pharma and diagnostic business models, as well as providers who depend on third-party payment.
In the press statement, Gerald McDougall, principal in charge of personalized medicine and health sciences at PwC, explained that there is an "urgent" need to increase the value of healthcare. "We need to replace our current focus on treating disease with a better approach that is personalized, preventative, predictive and participatory — the basic tenants of personalized medicine," he explained. "Greater collaboration around personalized medicine should be a key strategy for health reform."