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Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) spoke at a briefing of the Congressional Personalized Medicine Caucus, which he Chairs. 

This bicameral, bipartisan Caucus was launched in February of this year to bring Congressional attention to new biomedical innovations and advance policies that help American patients affected by cancer and other devastating diseases. The emergence of personalized medicine emphasizes that the approaches to health care should be as diverse and individualized as the patients it serves. 

"Pharmacogenomics, or PGx testing, is the answer to an ongoing and pervasive problem for our health care delivery system. If we can provide information to the clinician that will enable them to prescribe safer drugs for patients, we can ultimately save lives - and we must utilize this tool," said Emmer.

Pharmacogenomics uses information about a person's genetic makeup to choose the drugs and doses that are likely to work best for that particular person. PGx involves a combination of the science of how drugs work (pharmacology) with the science of the human genome (genomics).

Emmer continued, "This tool is ready and available now. We should be finding ways for this to be broadly adopted. It will help all Americans, but mainly, those who take more medications like seniors, veterans, and vulnerable individuals who need medications that do not negatively interact with each other." 

Today's briefing focused on pharmacogenomics and the high rate of patients suffering and even dying as a result of their prescription medications. Currently, adverse drug reactions kill someone every two minutes. 99% of the population has a genetic variant that impacts how their body responds to a pharmaceutical drug, and more than 91% of the population is unable to process medications in the way that they are intended.  

Emmer concluded, "As we continue to combat the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact, these medical innovations would optimize their prescription needs and serve them more efficiently. I'll continue to advocate for personalized medicine initiatives like these, which will create a healthier future for all Americans."

Congressman Emmer serves a Co-Chair of the Personalized Medicine Caucus, alongside Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). Read more about Rep. Emmer's work on health care and medical innovation here