February 15, 2017 -- In November 2013, the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) Board of Directors committed to explore the potential to offer pharmacogenomics testing (PGx testing) in community pharmacies. Consistent with the Association’s mandate, the decision was taken to determine whether community pharmacies could be the natural conduit to making this valuable information available to patients.
Since then, the BCPhA has undertaken many activities to advance a commercial launch of a service that would be accessible to Canadians in communities big and small. The primary objective has always been to position community pharmacies as the first and best place for the testing to be offered to the millions of patients taking the most often prescribed medications.
In the first phase of our research project, the BCPhA has worked in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Genome BC to develop standard operating protocols to ensure this service can be delivered in a variety of pharmacy environments. We determined that indeed PGx testing can be delivered in pharmacies both in urban and rural areas. As part of our work, we have also undertaken significant stakeholder engagement talking with prescribers, benefit providers, regulators and pharmacy owners about the potential to offer PGx testing through pharmacies.
Every step we have taken has made it clear that pharmacists are the obvious professionals to capitalize on the wealth of information PGx testing provides to patients and how best to determine the use of its findings. Every day pharmacists talk with prescribers and patients about the impact of medications on their personal health. Offering PGx testing through community pharmacy adds another layer of information. It is an essential element in delivering on the promise of personal medicine.
On Feb. 9, 2017, the Association announced another step in the process toward making PGx testing widely available to Canadians.
The BCPhA, through its commercial entity, RxOme Pharmacogenomics Canada Inc., has entered into a joint venture agreement with myDNA Life Australia.
myDNA Life Australia was founded in 2007 and has been at the forefront of research into pharmacogenomics in Australia. They offer PGx testing in more than 300 pharmacies in Australia. This experience reinforces the view held by the BCPhA that community pharmacists are best positioned to help patients and their doctors understand the implications that their genetics have on the medications they take.
myDNA and RxOme are currently in discussions with various pharmacy owners who operate nationally and regionally. Work is underway to finalize the many details needed to make the service available in the first half of the year. The testing will be offered to patients on a private pay basis.
The myDNA pharmacy program offers multi-gene panel testing for the most commonly prescribed medications in the areas of pain, mental health, cardiovascular and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). Also available are mini PGx tests for each therapeutic area. There is also a plan for personalized nutrition and lifestyle reports for areas such as vitamin supplementation, caffeine/alcohol, exercise and diet.
Our objective has always been to generate a new revenue stream for pharmacists and pharmacies. It was never intended that this be a new source of income for the Association. Our role is to facilitate this opportunity for our members.
In the coming weeks, we will continue discussions with pharmacy chains, banners and independent pharmacy owners to talk about the specific offering and the benefits that they and their patients can garner from this new service.
As a separate initiative, we are continuing to seek funding for the second phase of our research project that we are pursuing with UBC. A primary objective of this research is to demonstrate that PGx testing is of value to private and public payers.
The BCPhA Board and staff team are very excited that we can partner with myDNA. Their work in community pharmacy in Australia has genuinely been ground-breaking. Like us, they are committed to the central role community pharmacists will play in exploring the potential PGx testing has for patients and their health.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications