Essay about Pharmacogenomics: Racial Discrimination Word

Submitted By Duckduck979C
Words: 1237
Pages: 5

Gattaca, a movie set in the future depicts a whole new level of discrimination to the fellow man. In this seemingly alternate world infants are screened before birth and genetically altered to have the best possible genes compared to infants born naturally. The separate classes, the enhanced and unaltered people live different lives. Enhanced humans are favoured over and discriminate against unaltered humans not based on ethnic differences, but on genetics that the movie portrays the viewer to see. Is genetic discrimination still racial discrimination? Does the use of pharmacogenomics really show racial favouritism? No. The use of pharmacogenomics to treat different ethnic populations does not show racial favouritism but encourages individual benefit. Pharmacogenomics is the study of genetics in medicine whilst racial favouritism is based on phenotype. Pharmacogenomics doesn’t show racial favouritism because even within ethnic groups there are genetic variations. There are Australian laws in place to prevent discrimination that may occur from pharmacogenomics. These arguments will be discussed in further detail, and will show how the arguments on the opposing side are inferior.

Firstly, the use of pharmacogenomics encourages individual benefit because pharmacogenomics is a more accurate measure of drug dose compared to measurements made by body weight and age (7). In addition, medicines based on pharmacogenomics are more therapeutically beneficial than the standard treatment (7). Dosage based on genes looks at a person’s unique genetic makeup, and determines how much of the drug that person can metabolize effectively (7). Instead of depending on trial and error to acquire the optimum dose for the patient, pharmaceutical companies can made medications specifically for the individual (1). Based on that, a more accurate dose is given the first time. An example is Warfarin an anticoagulation drug. It’s been designed to accommodate for individuals with different metabolic capabilities (4).
Therefore depending on the individual he/she will receive the best dose of Warfarin for their metabolic needs (4). A list of genetic variations and corresponding Warfarin doses is available at Not only does pharmacogenomics provide a better measure of dose but also a better therapeutic effect in the individual (7). This is because the drugs are more targeted to the disease and leave healthy cells alone (7). As a result, this can decrease adverse drug reactions and hospitalisations (7). According to Dr. Martin Zdanowicz, chair and professor of Pharmaceutical Science at South University in America “drugs used for chemotherapy for both colon and breast cancer are engineered specifically for the genetic makeup of cancer cells (8).” There is no racial inequality here, just individual care and benefit. Some might argue that this level of personalized care will not be available to everyone, especially to populations of third world countries and so this can be seen as racial discrimination, favouring one ethnic group over another. The problem with this argument is that poorer countries already don’t have access to standard medications (9). This is because wealth and income are distributed unfairly with the top 1% of the richest people in the world owning a staggering 43% of the world’s wealth (9). This leaves 80% of the world’s population without enough money to pay for education and basic medicines (9). However with pharmacogenomics, people will potentially have to pay less and save money because the drug will be targeted to their genetic makeup allowing them to only buy the drugs necessary for their health (10). This will save money potentially increase access to medication. Where is racial favouritism here? Nowhere, Pharmacogenomics encourages individual benefit.

Secondly, pharmacogenomics doesn’t show racial favouritism because racial discrimination is based on phenotype, which are the physical features of a