Supply chain goes personal

Supply chain management is to personalized medicine as the mortar and pestle are to risk-based manufacturing. Both are nearly contradictory concepts in technical terms. Yet the new can't exist without the traditional fundamental pieces of the old, as conceptually mismatched as they may be.

Personalized genetic treatments must necessarily be preceded by personalized genetic diagnoses. So here the new supply chain begins, and it's a far different starting point than that of traditional drug chain. Lab results will drive medicine development, rather than merely suggesting treatment options and providing dosage guidelines for existing drugs traveling a well-worn path to patients.

Those with a stake in personalized medicine are beginning to create the necessary infrastructure, reports research publisher Miller-McCune. It's a far more data-intensive infrastructure than that of its predecessor, despite recent updates.

Drug distributor McKesson, for example, is creating electronic guidelines that help doctors determine when to order genetic tests. It's also building a database that tracks which health plans pay for DNA tests. The idea is to fit personalized medicine into current commercial processes.

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