An index of barriers for the implementation of personalised medicine and pharmacogenomics in Europe

Public Health Genomics. 2014;17(5-6):287-98. doi: 10.1159/000368034. Epub 2014 Nov 15.


Background: Personalised medicine (PM) is an innovative way to produce better patient outcomes by using an individualised or stratified approach to disease and treatment rather than a collective treatment approach for patients. Despite its tangible advantages, the complex process to translate PM into the member states and European healthcare systems has delayed its uptake. The aim of this study is to identify relevant barriers represented by an index to summarise challenging areas for the implementation of PM in Europe.

Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted, and a gaps-and-needs assessment together with a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-and-threats analysis were applied to review strategic reports and conduct interviews with key stakeholders. Furthermore, surveys were sent out to representatives of stakeholder groups. The index was constructed based on the priorisation of relevant factors by stakeholders.

Results: A need for stakeholder-agreed standards at all levels of implementation of PM exists, from validating biomarkers to definitions of 'informed consent'. The barriers to implement PM are identified in 7 areas, namely, stakeholder involvement, standardisation, interoperable infrastructure, European-level policy making, funding, data and research, and healthcare systems.

Conclusions: Challenges in the above-mentioned areas can and must be successfully tackled if we are to create a healthier Europe through PM. In order to create an environment in which PM can thrive for the patients' best outcomes, there is an urgent need for systematic actions to remove as many barriers as possible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Data Collection
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Humans
  • Pharmacogenetics*
  • Policy Making
  • Precision Medicine / psychology*
  • Public Health Practice
  • Public Policy*


  • Genetic Markers