PGx testing for every patient saves money, lives

June 7, 2022

GENETWORx experts, recent studies, and a legislative movement are combining to make the Pharmacogenetic (PGx) test report a standard part of every patient’s health record, according to a press release.

According to The Right Drug Dose Now Act introduced in Congress in February 2022, as well as GENETWORx’s own clients, and recent studies, PGx tests save time, money, and in some cases, lives.

The issue is important enough that this week was designated Healthcare Professionals Genomics Education Week by the National Human Genome Research Institute – an arm of the National Institutes of Health. June 7 was earmarked as Pharmacogenomics Day to further spread the word about how pharmacogenetic testing can assist doctors in treating their patients.

A one-time cheek swab for a GENETWORx pharmacogenetic test provides data on an individual’s genetic sequence, specifically flagging genes that may present potentially harmful drug or dosing concerns. The data in the PGx report is good for a patient’s lifetime, according to GENETWORx experts.

“In practice, there are times when you have two patients with similar profiles who are prescribed the same medications,” said Stacey Blankenship, PharmD, GENETWORx Pharmacist. “Then, you find one of them is experiencing side effects while the other says they are getting no relief from the treatment. A PGx test can tell you why this is the case.”

As the Mayo Clinic has stated, “personalized medicine holds the promise that treatments will one day be tailored to your genetic makeup. Calling the practice of implementing pharmacogenomics into a patient’s treatment plan “precision medicine,” Mayo says all medical decisions can be tailored specifically to each patient “in every way possible.”

GENETWORx has been performing pharmacogenomics testing for nearly eight years. Last month the company held a panel discussion for medical professionals on the benefits of PGx and how it works. A video of this panel discussion and more info on pharmacogenetics testing can be found here.

Adverse effects of misprescribed medications

The American Psychological Association (APA) found that billions of dollars are spent each year on psychotropic drugs as tools in treating many mental health disorders. The APA also stated, “But inappropriate prescribing can cause serious harm.”

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), medication prescribing errors are an ongoing problem with patients who have mental health conditions, a community that is “uniquely vulnerable” to medication errors.

Any medication can cause an adverse effect if prescribed incorrectly or if prescribed without knowledge of its potential negative interference with other drugs, according to Marianne Heeringa, of GENETWORx, who is a Registered Nurse with substantial experience working with PGx.

“Adverse drug events send more than four million Americans to a physician’s office or emergency room each year,” said Heeringa. “Improper prescribing leads to increased healthcare costs, reduced patient safety and an overall poorer quality of life.”

“A PGx genetics test can remove those barriers to treatment with appropriate medication based on an individual’s DNA and chart a clear course to wellness,” she said.

GENETWORx release