Pharmacogenomics: The Future Is Here

Updated on March 19, 2024 (Originally posted on November 17, 2017) Media Releases


This pharmacogenomic testing service is no longer being offered at community pharmacies in British Columbia.

B.C. pharmacies now offering service to patients

Your DNA can hold the key to whether your medication works for you. Pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing allows patients, together with their pharmacists and prescribers, more insight to determine what drugs should be prescribed for them. There are more than a hundred medications that are known to be impacted by a person's genetics ranging from cardiovascular medications, pain medications, statins, medications for reflux and antidepressants.

Now more than 80 community pharmacies in British Columbia are offering the service to patients.

Your genetics can affect how your body processes medications. You might process some too quickly, resulting in ineffectiveness or process others too slowly, leading to a risk of negative side effects. Often times, how we respond to medications in a certain way is unexplained. Not knowing can have serious implications leading to wasted time, poor quality of life, missed work and even dangerous side effects. 

Pharmacists are the medication experts. They understand how your body processes medications and can help you apply the results of your PGx test to your current medication therapy. Advances in PGx technology have also impacted the cost of testing to come down dramatically, allowing more and more people the ability to afford it. Having this genetic information can help a patient respond to a medication, provide the patient and their healthcare team the necessary information to choose the ideal drug therapy for the patient resulting in safer, more effective treatments with fewer side effects.

The myDNA test is simple: You can go to a participating pharmacy, talk to the pharmacist to see if it's right for you. The pharmacy will collect basic information, walk you through a consent form, take a cheek swab then mail the sample to myDNA's accredited laboratory for sequencing. A report will be returned to the pharmacy where the pharmacist will review your results with you and help make any necessary adjustments to your medications in collaboration with you and your prescriber. 

Currently, there are 100 pharmacies registered across Canada in several provinces that can provide the myDNA test kit, with more than 80 in B.C. offering the service. Many more are coming on board every day. By year end 2017, we estimate up to 150 pharmacies will have signed up to provide this service.