Open Access

Interactive Communication in Pharmacogenomics Innovations: User-producer interaction from an innovation and science communication perspective

Genomics, Society and Policy20084:53

DOI: 10.1186/1746-5354-4-2-53

Published: 15 August 2008

Abstract

Pharmacogenomics is a quickly evolving field of research that increasingly impacts individuals and society. As some innovations in biotechnology have experienced strong public opposition during the 1990s, interaction between producers and users of these innovations may help in increasing their success in social and economic terms. However, conditions for effective interaction have so far remained under-explored. This paper explores user-producer interactions in pharmacogenomics from an innovation and science communication perspective in the Netherlands. To find possible ways of engaging stakeholders in an early stage of technology development, ie, when science policy is in the making, we present communication activities derived from the field of policy analysis. To articulate motives for two-way public participation in genomics innovation processes, we describe two levels at which pharmacogenomics developments will have an input:1) at the meso-level of medical practice with already established medical technologies, values and routines, suppliers and health professionals (general practitioners, pharmacists), and 2) at the macro-level of society at large, with established institutions, infrastructures, and broadly shared values and beliefs among citizens in general. Thereby we offer a starting point for optimising decision-making processes in the field of pharmacogenomics innovations, including important aims to be reached, stakeholders to be involved, and some criteria for designing interactive communication activities.