Canadian insurer SSQ Insurance has partnered with DNA testing and genetic counselling firm BiogeniQ to offer group insurance customers with a new solution to treat depression.
Traditionally, sufferers of depression have been forced to try a number of different treatments and strategies before finding the approach that best fits their own unique and specific needs. SSQ hopes that its partnership with BiogeniQ, which specializes in the field of pharmacogenomics, will begin to eliminate this trial and error process.
Under the agreement, SSQ Insurance will offer the services of BiogeniQ to some of its insured members who are on disability as a result of depression. Insureds who agree to participate will receive a genetic test kit from BiogeniQ. Then, with the consent of the insured, BiogeniQ will send each test result directly to the attending physician, who will be able to use the information to help identify the appropriate treatment approach and ignore the less effective strategies. The results of the tests will not be seen by SSQ Insurance.
"This agreement with BiogeniQ reflects our commitment to providing our insured members with innovative solutions that promote health and well-being, and once again demonstrates SSQ Insurance's leadership in this area,” said Trudel, Senior Vice-President of Strategy and Product Management at SSQ Insurance. “Thanks to our agreement with BiogeniQ, SSQ Insurance customers will be able to consider a treatment that is better suited to their situation and possibly a faster return to a fully active life. By the same token, this practice could ultimately help control the cost of group insurance plans for policyholders."
SSQ Insurance will only offer BiogeniQ’s services to certain insured members to begin with, but the insurer is open extending the new services to the rest of its members if the partnership proves a success. SSQ is also going to evaluate the possible use of pharmacogenomics in the treatment of other diseases.
"Studies show that personalized treatment based on pharmacogenomic analyses serves to shorten the duration of disability due to depression and increase the chances of remission. We are enthusiastic about our partnership with SSQ Insurance to make this avant-garde service accessible and make a difference in the lives of many insureds," Étienne Crevier, the founder of BiogeniQ, said.
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