The PRSB has launched a project to develop guidance for how medicines can be prescribed using information from genomic records


Genomics – the study of our genetic makeup - is increasingly transforming healthcare. Already genomics is helping to determine our individual risk of developing a number of diseases, detecting illness earlier, helping provide accurate diagnoses, and determining the most effective interventions to help improve our health.

Research on current data shows that in a high volume (85%) of genomic records, there are findings which could be used to deliver better and safer prescribing of drugs. For example, certain information about a person’s genomic makeup could indicate which drugs might cause harm or be ineffective.

NHS England is currently exploring how this information can be used to improve the safety and quality of care. To inform this work PRSB has been asked to develop guidance on what information should be shared, with whom and when to support those who are prescribing medications.


In November 2019, participants were selected to join an online workshop because of their clinical or personal experience of genetics. They discussed the key information that needs to be communicated about a person’s genetic make-up before medication is prescribed. Participants discussed what the guidance should include, the specific time and place that alerts should appear, to ensure that the right information is not only communicated, but it’s also received in a way that prescribers can use effectively.

The group discussed the challenges of ‘alert fatigue’ for both patients and clinicians and how this could best be managed. Patients discussed their desire for ‘personalised’ medication, as well as safety alerts.

“For patients it's not just about choosing the medication that won’t cause an adverse reaction, genetic testing can also be used to pick medications that might be more beneficial, and it’s important that clinicians have access to that information too,” patient representative Laura Fulcher.

Get involved

The work on the guidance will be completed in 2020.If you’re interested in getting involved or would like to know more about the project, please contact

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Why genetic information will be crucial to the future of care

As new genetic information emerges, it needs to be communicated in the right way to clinicians and patients. We speak to the chief executive of Genetic Alliance, Jayne Spink, about the ways this research will be able to better support personalised treatment.
"Personalised prescribing has the potential to deliver the most effective medicine at the best dose without trial and error. This could mean getting symptoms under control more quickly, shortening the length of treatment and for some, avoiding adverse reactions. "
Read Jayne's Blog here