Obama talks up precision meds, cybersecurity in SOTU speech

President Barack Obama

President Obama has pushed precision medicine and cybersecurity into the national consciousness and toward the top of the legislative agenda. Obama referred to both topics in his State of the Union address, but at this stage more is known about the cybersecurity plan.

The White House began talking up the cybersecurity agenda the week before Obama's speech, one paragraph of which was dedicated to the topic, Modern Healthcare reports. Cybersecurity concerns and the plans to address them extend far beyond biopharma, but the industry is consistently listed as being a target for hackers. Obama unveiled cybersecurity legislation earlier this month to address some of the concerns. The inclusion of the topic in the State of the Union speech emphasized Obama's desire to act.

"It's the administration coming out saying, 'We recognize the threat,'" Health Information and Management Systems Society VP Lisa Gallagher said. Biopharma companies, hospitals and other healthcare players have--with varying degrees of success--erected defenses against hackers. But the involvement of feds could increase awareness of the sources of danger, not just how to deal with them. "It's important to look beyond the threat system to the threat motivators," Gallagher said.

Obama also used the State of the Union speech to preview a precision medicine initiative. The speech included few details--the White House is expected to say more on February 2--but that only served to intensify speculation. Genetic sequencing and tissue-on-a-chip technology are two fields that could be boosted by the precision medicine agenda, Xconomy reports.

- read the Modern Healthcare article
- check out Xconomy's piece
- and the speech transcript