The role of genetic testing in pharmacies

Pharmacists could play an important role in genetic testing, helping people to understand their personal level of risk and support preventative measures that will tackle diseases such as cancer.  

With the current pressures on the NHS, community pharmacies are ideally placed to help customers help themselves. Goodbody Health, for example, has already seen the benefits and is now rolling out our Antegenes cancer testing service as part of its healthcare testing services across its network of community clinics.  

Antegenes is a revolutionary new screening test that allows individuals to understand their predisposition of developing common cancers so they can make proactive healthcare and reduce the risk of developing the disease. It uses advanced polygenic risk score technology that analyses many individual genetic variants to identify changes or patterns in order to determine an individual’s risk. 

Pharmacogenomics and the role of pharmacists 

The concept of genetic testing in pharmacies is not new. Some are already offering pharmacogenomic testing services, a genetic test designed to see how someone will react to certain medications before being prescribed common medicines.  This helps to empower healthcare professionals to deliver better, more personalised care, and tailor prescribing decisions to optimise treatment.  

Additional revenue stream 

Offering genetic testing will provide pharmacists with an additional revenue stream with minimal administrative support.  

Each customer purchasing the test will have access to our wrap-around clinical support through Everything Genetic so that they feel supported and understand the implications before and after taking the test. 

Dr James Mackay, Medical Director at Everything Genetic says: “Regardless of where people purchase the test kit, they will still benefit from our pre- and post-test clinical support and our clinical team are here to answer any questions or concerns customers have.” 

 

The expanding role of pharmacists 

The role of a pharmacist has been evolving for many years now, and more recently is expanding into the realms of mental health and wellbeing. This includes wellness screenings, advice, and education, as well as referral and signposting to other services. Genetic testing will help complement services such as DNA and blood testing within a pharmacy environment. 

Promoting self-care 

As people become more open to taking a more active role in managing their health and more comfortable with the concept of home self-testing, due in part to Covid-19, we are seeing greater demand for people wanting to understand more about their genetic predisposition.   

By making genetic testing more widely available in pharmacies, it will also help relieve some of the burden from the NHS as more preventative measures are put into place for customers who may be at high risk of developing cancer.  

Making genetic testing accessible and affordable 

We want to make genetic testing accessible and affordable to everyone, and by making these tests available through local pharmacies, it will allow more people to understand their inherited risks of developing cancer. 

Without a doubt, pharmacists have a key role to play in advancing genetic testing and making it more widely accessible to their customers so that effective and personal treatment plans are made available.  

If your pharmacy group would like to find out more about offering our Antegenes service, contact our team today at [email protected]