Commission Would Examine Benefits of Expanding Drug-Gene Testing to Improve NJ Patient Care & Health Outcomes
The Senate Health Committee has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio that would create the “New Jersey Pharmacogenomics Commission.”
Pharmacogenomics, or “drug-gene testing,” is the study of how a person’s genetic makeup influences the effectiveness or toxicity of medications.
Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s legislation would establish the New Jersey Pharmacogenomics Commission, to examine the benefits of expanding drug-gene testing. (Wikimedia Commons)
“New Jersey has the talent, academic prestige, and facilities to take medical science to the next level. There is no reason why the next big breakthrough can’t happen right in our own backyard,” Senator Pennacchio said. “By exploring pharmacogenomics, we can discover new ways to use drug-gene testing to cure illnesses, prevent side effects, and create treatment plans that are unique to each patient. My thanks to Chairman Vitale for posting this bill.”
Genetic testing is already a common component of cancer treatment, as genetic mutations play a role 5 to 10 percent of all cancers, and certain treatments can be tailored to match a specific genetic mutation identified in a patient’s tumor.
As established by Sen. Pennacchio’s legislation, SJR-115, the New Jersey Pharmacogenomics Commission would be charged with examining the following issues:
- Costs and benefits related to Pharmacogenomic testing now and in the future
- How implementing Pharmacogenomics may benefit prescribers, patients, and the State
- Various applications for Pharmacogenomics outside of medicine, such as combating the opioid crisis and others
- The relationship between Pharmacogenomics applications in Personalized Medicine
- The results of previous studies on prescribing medicines and treatments based on Pharmacogenomic science
- Methods of educating patients and prescribers on prescribing medicine and treatment based on genetic makeup
- The relationship of Pharmacogenomics in the reduction of the number of deaths, disabilities, and hospitalization from Adverse Drug Events
The commission would consist of 10 members appointed by the Governor, including representatives from the State Departments of Health, Pension & Benefits, Treasury, and Military & Veterans Affairs; representatives from various New Jersey medical schools and medical associations; and a professor of genetics.
The legislation also requires the commission to hold two public hearings; one in North Jersey and one in South Jersey, no later than six months after the commission is organized.
A copy of the legislation can be found here.
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