Medavie launches pharmacogenetic testing pilot

Medavie Blue Cross is launching a pharmacogenetic testing pilot project to help group benefits plan members find ideal medication and dosing amounts.

The project uses GeneYouIn Inc.’s Pillcheck cheek-swab DNA test, analyzing patients’ genes to understand how their bodies might process certain medications. After the test, the swabs are destroyed for patient privacy.

While the project will initially target patients with mental-health and pain-management claims, it could be particularly helpful for disability claimants, said Medavie in a press release. It noted physicians would be able to find the best medication for a claimant’s pharmacogenetic profile and help them get back to work sooner.

Read: A look at one company’s experience with pharmacogenetic testing

“We understand how disappointing and frustrating it can be when a medication doesn’t work as intended,” said Marc Avaria, Medavie’s vice-president of product and disability management. “By bringing the Pillcheck system into our suite of offerings, we’re giving our disability claimants access to a new form of personalized care that aims to get them on the path to well-being as soon as possible.”

The results of the test, which is offered on a voluntary basis, are kept confidential, shared directly with the patient and never given to the insurer.

“Physicians and other health-care professionals are increasingly using pharmacogenetics and systems like Pillcheck to ensure they’re providing the safest medication treatment that best meets their patients’ needs,” said Veronika Litinski, chief executive officer at GeneYouIn. “It’s based around the simple understanding that we are all individuals and not everyone responds to medications the same way.”

Read: A look at using pharmacogenetic testing in determining depression treatment