The British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) has today launched a new independent whitepaper which examines the UK genomics landscape, with a focus on patient access to genomic testing.
Improved access to genomics diagnostics has the power to transform healthcare and provide several societal benefits to the UK. By optimising diagnosis and treatment, personalised healthcare pathways can be implemented, empowering patients to better prevent future illness and access the most effective, bespoke therapies. This subsequently saves clinicians’ time by avoiding unnecessary treatments, protects vital NHS funds, and alleviates pressure across an already stretched health care system.
However, while the UK is positioned as a world-leading pioneer in genomics innovation, patient access to genomic testing remains suboptimal. For example, the UK currently ranks 19th in Europe for uptake of next-generation sequencing in non-small cell lung cancer. The question therefore arises: how can the UK’s potential in genomics be unlocked?
The independent report, undertaken by Charles River Associates under commission for BIVDA, has identified a series of reasons for limited access to genomic testing for UK patients, while also recognising opportunities to improve the current situation.
Regulatory issues, a lack of centralised guidance on the applicability of different funding pathways and underdeveloped infrastructure to increase testing capacity are all persistent issues which currently hamper the UK genomics climate. Establishing critical partnerships across both the public and private sector, alongside the enactment of policy change, can begin to erode these barriers and improve the adoption of, and access to, genomic testing for UK patients.
Commenting on the launch of the paper, BIVDA Chief Executive, Doris-Ann Williams, said:
“I am delighted BIVDA is publishing this report today, highlighting work being undertaken by our Genomics Working Group. This is an exciting area for the use of diagnostic testing with huge potential for the future, individualising treatment for the population of the UK. “
Chair of BIVDA’s Genomics Working Group, Philip Beer, said:
“Democratised access to genomic diagnostics has the potential to significantly impact the lives of patients, including access to novel treatments and avoidance of side effects associated with ineffective therapies.
“This review has identified key challenges that are currently limiting patient access to genomic testing in the UK. Importantly, this work characterises potential solutions to these problems, through the optimal use of industry-healthcare partnerships licensed by national level policy change.”
Dr Jennifer Harris, Director of Research Policy at the ABPI said:
“Despite the UK having built up global leadership and capabilities in genomics, delays in genomic testing and inconsistent use of available tests mean that all too often, patients in the UK cannot access the precision medicines and diagnostics that they need. The good news is that these challenges can be addressed and this report identifies practical solutions, further building on recommendations made last year by the ABPI.
“It is essential the Government now delivers on the commitments it made in the Genome UK plan. Doing so will transform care for patients, help the NHS address the pressures it faces, and position the UK as the destination of choice for genomics research, development, manufacturing and treatment.”
The Paper can be downloaded here. For more information, please contact the BIVDA Press Office.
The British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, or BIVDA, is the national industry association for manufacturers and distributors of in vitro diagnostic (IVD) products. Representing more than 230 companies, we act as the voice for the IVD industry and cover products which range from the most complex tests and automation for clinical laboratories to tests designed for use at home or in the community. BIVDA members range from UK subsidiaries of global organisations to domestic manufacturers, distributors and early stage, highly innovative companies, all of whom share a role in supplying essential information for healthcare in the UK, primarily to the NHS.