Leading the Charge: How the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) Promotes Education and Advocacy
In this episode, we welcome guest, Chris Wells, VP of Public Affairs for the Personalized Medicine Coalition, a collaboration of innovators, scientists, patients, providers, and payers who work to further the understanding and adoption of personalized medicine across the healthcare system.
Listen to the full episode above and download the full PDF transcript here.
We first met Chris at the 2018 PMC Conference at Harvard Medical School in Boston. A key focus of the conference was exploring the infrastructure and business strategies necessary to overcome scientific obstacles, optimize public policies, and change embedded medical norms—all for the benefit of better patient outcomes and a more efficient health system.
One of the first things we wanted to know was how the PMC Conference has evolved over the years. Chris replied that, even in 2016, integration of genomics in clinical settings was still an afterthought for many providers. But, now, gene editing and other genomic applications like the CAR T-cell therapies are transforming our conceptions of certain cancers and how we treat them, and they are shaping the personalized medicine agenda.
Chris went on to say that gene therapy and gene editing are intersecting with two other key trends—artificial intelligence and the rapid development of genomic sequencing technologies—and those topics are transforming the way the PMC structures its conferences.
We asked Chris to share his “aha” moments from Harvard Medical School conference, and he immediately brought up Peter June, who is the global head of value-based partnerships at Amgen. While speaking at the conference, June noted that science and medicine technologies are now far outpacing a structure that was set up in a completely different era. Chris thought this was an incredibly important point that really summed up the general theme of the conference. He also noted comments from Daniel O'Day, CEO of Roche, who believes that when pharmaceuticals target patients most likely to benefit from a medicine, it improves the transformational benefit of the medicine. However, as Chris says, this new perspective on science is colliding with a system that is still one-size-fits-all.
Part of that dynamic, Chris points out, is that not being able to get reimbursed for genomic testing is still a barrier to precision medicine. This is one reason the PMC commissioned a study to begin developing evidence that might move the needle on reimbursement.
The big takeaway from the PMC study was that when tests suggest a patient should receive a targeted therapy, they still may not receive the therapy, presumably due sometimes to educational and reimbursement challenges. The data suggest that if the practice could have aligned with the recommendations made in the test the therapy, it would have proven to be more clinically and economically useful. For Chris, this was a key finding, because it shows that the test is only part of the equation and what's being done with the information is also critical to realizing the potential of personalized medicine.
There is a lot to learn from Chris’ perspective and especially the PMC’s focus on evidence development to overcome the reimbursement issue.
Listen to the full episode above.
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About Our Guest
Christopher Wells, M.P.A.
VP of Public Affairs, Personalized Medicine Coalition
As Vice President of Public Affairs, Chris Wells oversees the development of PMC's marketing and communications messages and leverages a comprehensive portfolio of digital and traditional communications tools to increase awareness and understanding of personalized medicine in the United States and internationally. He also oversees content development for the Annual Personalized Medicine Conference at Harvard Medical School.
Prior to joining PMC, Wells worked as a research assistant at Binghamton University, where he graduated with a master's degree in public administration and received the University's Department of Public Administration Alpha Student Award. He holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Brockport, where he was honored with Department Scholar's Awards in both journalism and international studies.
Get in touch with Chris: