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Health Aff (Millwood). 2010 Oct;29(10):1783-7. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0642.

Comparative effectiveness and personalized medicine: evolving together or apart?

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  • 1Medco ResearchInstitute, Medco Health Solutions, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, USA.


Comparative effectiveness research and personalized medicine can at first appear to be at odds with each other. This research initially compares the overall benefits of one therapeutic approach with those of another for the majority of patients, while personalized medicine identifies the subsets of patients who could benefit based on personal characteristics such as genetics. But because comparative effectiveness research typically enrolls heterogeneous patient populations, it can uncover subpopulations that might benefit most from particular treatments. Thus, comparative effectiveness research can help discern the appropriate role of personalized medicine in improving health care outcomes and rationalizing costs.

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