We are delighted to witness the advancement of Pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing within Canadian community pharmacy settings and pleased that other PGx players are now involved in this effort. This progress confirms GeneYouIn’s (GYI) strategic direction, which was defined in early 2015. In fact, we have been working with community pharmacists for the past 2 years, and sponsored an award-winning study that clearly demonstrates the clinical benefits of pharmacogenetic testing, especially when supported by community pharmacists.
As a healthcare consumer, ask questions
There are several providers offering pharmacogenetic tests in Canada, and while the price differentials may seem attractive, it is important to recognize what makes a pharmacogenetic test informative, clinically relevant and actionable.
The disclosed genotyping panels used in the marketplace can contain as little as 25 markers. This has important implications for your report. Fewer markers may result in poor assay sensitivity or lack of depth in the results, which is particularly important in a population as ethnically diverse as Canada.
What can appear to be a more economical pharmacogenetic test could stem from the fact that the genetic panels being analyzed have been optimized to include only the most common markers present in Caucasians. However, markers that are common in Native Canadians, Blacks, East Asians, Arabs and Ashkenazi Jews are missing altogether. Members of these groups are likely to receive false negative results, leading to incorrect clinical decisions. Be aware that the sensitivity of a genetic test is determined by the number of genetic markers included in the panel.
Another consideration involves the classes of therapeutics and list of drugs that are covered by the test. Generally, the broader the array of markers utilized, the wider the scope of the test. In other words, the number of markers used determines the number of drugs that are covered.
The final consideration is the deliverable.
Most pharmacogenetic reports have a “traffic light” system of warnings related to the patient’s metabolic status for a set of medications. More detailed reports include guidance regarding initial drug treatment. Patients are then left to their own devices and are expected to share these results with their treating physician, who may have difficulty applying the recommendations. A complete turnkey service could include a personalized medication review letter from a specially trained pharmacist, which assists the prescribing physician to apply the results and modify the treatment, when appropriate.
As a healthcare consumer, you can ask questions and determine which test is best suited to your needs.
About Pillcheck and GeneYouIn
To help healthcare practitioners make the most accurate prescribing decisions, Pillcheck patients obtain information with the highest resolution, covering a broad range of medications. Genetic markers include those that allow for maximum sensitivity and relevance for many ethnic groups. GeneYouIn follows guidelines published by CPIC (Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium), Dutch Pharmacogenetics Working Group (DPWG), U.S. FDA, Health Canada, and the European Medicines Agency. Pillcheck regularly expands its list of reported medications to ensure a lifetime value for the patient.
GeneYouIn works with accredited clinical laboratories, and the genetic testing is performed in Canada by a clinical diagnostics provider.
Our test currently includes 168 biomarkers:
CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, SLCO1B1, TPMT, DPD, UGT1A1, VKORC1, CYP3A4, COMT, SLC4A6, CYP2B6, IL28B and other genes, and includes 114 commonly used medications.
The $499 test price covers 114 of the most commonly prescribed medications and includes an e-consult with a GeneYouIn-trained pharmacist, who can also provide a concise summary of your report that can be shared with your treating physician.
In assessing the best solution for yourself, we advise that you consider the trade-offs between clinical relevance, optimal outcome and cost.