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Objectives: Amidst conflicting expectations about the benefits of personalized medicine (PM) and the potentially high implementation costs, we reviewed the available evidence on the cost-effectiveness of PM relative to non-PM. Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review of economic evaluations of PM and extracted data, including incremental quality-adjusted life-years (ΔQALYs) and incremental costs (Δcosts). ΔQALYs and Δcosts were combined with estimates of national cost-effectiveness thresholds to calculate incremental net monetary benefit (ΔNMB). Regression analyses were performed with these variables as dependent variables and PM intervention characteristics as independent variables. Random intercepts were used to cluster studies according to country. Results: Of 4774 studies reviewed, 128 were selected, providing cost-effectiveness data for 279 PM interventions. Most studies were set in the United States (48%) and the United Kingdom (16%) and adopted a healthcare perspective (82%). Cancer treatments (60%) and pharmaceutical interventions (72%) occurred frequently. Prognostic tests (19%) and tests to identify (non)responders (37%) were least and most common, respectively. Industry sponsorship occurred in 32%. Median ΔQALYs, Δcosts, and ΔNMB per individual were 0.03, Int$575, and Int$18, respectively. We found large heterogeneity in cost-effectiveness. Regression analysis showed that gene therapies were associated with higher ΔQALYs than other interventions. PM interventions for neoplasms brought higher ΔNMB than PM interventions for other conditions. Nonetheless, average ΔNMB in the ‘neoplasm' group was found to be negative. Conclusions: PM brings improvements in health but often at a high cost, resulting in 0 to negative ΔNMB on average. Pricing policies may be needed to reduce the costs of interventions with negative ΔNMB.

Original publication




Journal article


Value in Health

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