Purpose and Progress in Pharmacogenomics: A Patient Narrative, a Pilot Program, and the Evolving Prospects for Genetically Based Prescribing Practices

In 2006, Rachel Brummert visited her doctor with questions about a persistent cough. Her physician found nothing out of the ordinary. But she prescribed an antibiotic “just to be safe.”

Within 18 months, Ms. Brummert had ruptured her Achilles tendons three times.

As Ms. Brummert and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later learned, the prescribed drug, levofloxacin, can cause tendinitis and tendon ruptures in patients, like Ms. Brummert, with certain variants of the MTHFR gene. In an article published in The Journal of Precision Medicine in March of 2022, Ms. Brummert, who has now undergone more than 30 surgeries to repair recurrent tendon ruptures, explains how adverse drug reactions like the ones she experienced affect patients and the health care system in the United States:

“Annually, adverse drug events account for one million emergency room visits, 2.2 million hospitalizations, 3.5 million physician visits, and a staggering $136 billion in health care costs.” In one of the most compelling demonstrations of personalized medicine’s real-world impact published to date, researchers from the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Kentucky and Coriell Life Sciences (CLS) reported on March 8, 2022, that pharmacogenetic tests designed to detect genes that may influence a patient’s likelihood of experiencing adverse drug reactions helped save the health care system $37 million in direct medical charges by optimizing treatment selections to avoid downstream health care costs.

Ms. Brummert will reflect on the shortcomings of one-size-fits-all prescribing practices. CLS’ Chief Science Officer will review and discuss the significance of the data from its pilot program with the Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky. And one of the world’s foremost experts in pharmacogenomics will identify the obstacles still slowing the uptake of pharmacogenetic testing in clinical settings.


  • Moderator

    Cynthia A. Bens
    Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Personalized Medicine Coalition

  • Panelist

    Rachel Brummert
    Communications Lead, American Society of Pharmacovigilance, Patient harmed by severe side effects of antibiotic

  • Panelist

    Howard McLeod, Pharm.D.
    Executive Clinical Director, Precision Health, Intermountain Healthcare

  • Panelist

    Jeffrey A. Shaman, Ph.D.
    Chief Science Officer, Coriell Life Sciences