With advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, its decreasing cost and an increased focused of APAC governments on Precision Medicine, there is an opportunity for NGS to change the paradigm in oncology diagnostics and treatment decision-making.
For this to be a reality, there is a need to establish effective and market-appropriate national policy strategies, with a focus on reinforcing the value of quality NGS, as well as the need for quality assurance and standardization.
To this end, in May 2022, APACMed convened two roundtable sessions with regional and international experts, including oncologists, pathologists, geneticists, regulators / policy makers and industry experts.
Following extensive discussions, the roundtable participants agreed on a set of recommendations to ensure quality of NGS testing. The recommendations are intended to be practical and achievable by all markets in APAC. It was recognised that the process of setting a minimum standard for quality must take into consideration the region’s regulatory heterogeneity.
Beyond quality, the roundtable attendees also highlighted that there are several other components of existing healthcare systems hindering realization of the true value of NGS. These components will be considered as focus points for future position papers. Examples include lack of reimbursement of NGS tests, resulting in high out-of-pocket costs for patients and barrier to access; lack of physician awareness; and low availability / lack of coverage for matched treatments.
Enforcing quality NGS is the first, fundamental step which will, hopefully, lay the ground for better NGS access, and ultimately better treatment of cancer patients.
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