Issues in aging

October 2010



Practice and challenges

Volume 39, No.10, October 2010 Pages 788-790

Raktim Kumar Ghosh

Samhati Mondal Ghosh

Shalini Chawla


Generating revenue of over $1 billion annually to owner companies, blockbuster drugs have been a prominent feature of drug development over recent decades. However, a large number of patients have an inadequate therapeutic response to the ‘one size fits all’ blockbuster drugs. It is difficult to predict which patient subgroups will respond well to a drug and which will have significant adverse reactions.


This article outlines the potential role of pharmacogenomics in drug development and personalised medicine in order to examine possible treatment strategies targeted to patients according to their genetic profile.


Drug development based on pharmacogenomics has the potential to result in medications that have predictable responses in ethnic or racial patient subpopulations and can be targeted to accommodate individual genetic variation. The key challenges for the successful implementation of this concept include finding suitable biomarkers, bringing down the cost of laboratory investigations, and making drug development processes based on pharmacogenomics economically viable for pharmaceutical companies.

up to $1 billion. Despite the seemingly massive expenditure, the great majority of prescription drugs in the market today are only effective for around 40% of target patients.3 The percentage comes down further to 20% in the field of cancer chemotherapy.4 It is also reported that up to 40–75% of patients with asthma, 25–50% of patients with diabetes, and 20–40% of patients with depression are nonresponsive to their treatments.3,5

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