Embargoed For Release until4 pm EST, Jan. 18, 2012
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Genetic and Genomic Lab Testing Creates 116,000 US Jobs, $16.5 Billion in Economic Output, Says New Battelle Report
SustainingUSLeadership in this growth sector can lead to "significant future economic and societal benefits"
Washington DC -- Driven by rapid innovation made possible in large part by the mapping of the human genome, genetic and genomic clinical laboratory testing generates 116,000 US jobs and contributes$16.5 billion annually to the US economy, according to a new report by theBattelle Memorial Institute. Because this industry sector is still in the early stages of development, according to the report, much future growth is expected to occur.
The report was sponsored by the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) and its educational arm, Results for Life.
The report said that the industry sector's ability to innovate and produce cutting-edge genetic testingservices and products supports about 44,000 direct jobsand generates about another 73,000 jobs in key supplier industries, such as real estate, food services, and wholesale trade businesses, as well as a result of consumer spending by laboratory employees. Together, the genetic and genomic laboratory testing sector-related workforce received nearly $6 billion in wages and benefits in 2009. It also generated$657 million in estimated state and local tax revenue and nearly $1.2 billion in federal taxes in 2009.
"The fact that genetic and genomic testing has created 116,000 jobs and $6 billion in personal income for US workers in the middle of one of the country's worst recessions should be noted by US policy leaders," said Alan Mertz, ACLA President. "This industry is one of America's true economic success stories. It is not only helping us beat cancer and other diseases, it is also building strong economic growth in a field of innovation where the US is, and always has been, the leader."
Battelle said that comparatively high levels of wages and salaries are provided within the industry, along with sound benefits packages. It found that the annual average personal income of a worker in this sector was about $57,000 in 2009-a significant wage premium as compared to roughly $45,000 in the overall US economy.
ACLA's Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Jen Bowman said, "This report confirms what we see in the genetic and genomic clinical laboratory industry daily-continued and rapid innovation that is translating into high value, high wage, and family sustaining jobs."
In addition to fueling the economy, innovative genetic tests are enabling a revolution in medical care that is improving America's health and well-being, according to the Battelle study.Genetic testing does so by identifying the genetic nature of a disease or condition, thereby allowing physicians to better target treatment. Significant improvement is occurringas a result in a range of conditions, such as childhood leukemia, HIV, heart disease, cervical cancer, blood clotting, melanoma, and colorectal cancer.
For example, physicians use these clinical laboratory genetic tests to target cancer therapies to an individual's unique genetic fingerprint, which has improved survival rates in many types of cancer. Genetic tests are used to diagnose certain genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis in babies, so treatment can begin early and minimize the disease's impact. Genetic tests also are used to improve patient safety by preventing underdosing, overdosing, or misdosing medications, which cause human suffering and costmore than $100 billion annually.
"As we build on the mapping of the human genome, genetic and genomic testing is enabling one of the country's great medical and economic transformations," said Bowman of ACLA. "I also think it is very important to recognize that a significant amount of that is coming from the small, innovative start-up labs throughout the US."
Sustaining US leadership as the innovative genetic and genomic clinical testing sector continues to grow and prosper carries the promise of significant future economic and societal benefits, according to the Battelle report.
For these economic opportunities to be captured within the United States - and not in other countries the genetic and genomic clinical testing industry needs to be able to operate in a business environment that encourages continued research and development investment and facilitates profitable business operations, the report states.
"This report provides a much clearer understanding of the real-world impact-in jobs, economic growth, and health cost-savings-of rapid innovation in genetic and genomic testing," said ACLA's Alan Mertz. "This information can help guide strategic economic development and regulatoryefforts at both the state and national levels as decision makers look to nurture high-growth economic sectors."
Click here for the Battelle Memorial Institute report "The Economic and Functional Impact of Genetic and Genomic Clinical Laboratory Testing in the U.S."
The American Clinical Laboratory Association represents the nation's clinical laboratories. www.acla.com. Results for Life is an educational campaign focused on the value of laboratory medicine. www.labresultsforlife.org