GSC announces positive results from pharmacogenomic study

by Leo Almazora17 Jun 2020

Green Shield Canada and HBM+, its health benefit managements solutions division, have announced the high-level results of a previously announced pharmacogenomics clinical trial study examining whether drug treatment can be improved using information about a person’s genetic profile.

“We undertook this study because there were substantial gaps in knowledge regarding the downstream impact of pharmacogenomic testing on patients, but the results confirm that it can be a difference-maker for those suffering with major mental health conditions,” said David Willows, GSC’s EVP, Digital, Innovation and Brand Experience.

The study was a single-blinded randomized controlled trial, which followed over 200 outpatients diagnosed with major mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Each participant was randomly sorted into either a control group, where drug optimization was conducted purely based on a pharmacist’s clinical judgment, or an experimental group where a pharmacist administered pharmacogenetics-guided treatment.

Validated psychiatric instruments – including the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) and Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) – were used to evaluate patient response.

Over a six-month trial period, participants in the pharmacogenomics-guided cohort reported significantly greater improvements. Compared to the control group, they showed better recovery with respect to depression severity (36% improvement from baseline for the pharmacogenomics-guided group vs. 16% for the control group), anxiety (41% vs. 23%), and disability (44% vs. 18%).

“Moving forward, the study data presents a compelling picture of the important role that pharmacogenomics can play in optimizing drug therapy and helping pharmacists and physicians to improve patient health,” Willows said.