Day Lewis plans to be the first to launch a private pharmacogenomic testing service in community pharmacy this summer.
Tim Rendell, head of pharmacy at Day Lewis, told The Pharmaceutical Journal the service was likely to centre on a small number of medicines and locations initially, and the precise details of the service and pricing were still being worked on.
However, Rendell said its launch later in 2022 would be a “real-life” model of how the sector can play a role in helping patients get more out of their medicines and avoid adverse drug reactions by introducing routine pharmacogenomic testing in community pharmacy.
Pharmacists running the service would be offered training and ongoing support through a helpline where they can get advice from subject experts, where required.
Referring to the government’s ten-year UK-wide strategy for genomics, published in September 2020, which promises that all patients will have a “pharmacogenomic profile” attached to their medical records in the next ten years, Rendell said: “We need to have some real-life models in a pharmacy setting in England to build upon the evidence base to deliver that ambition.”
Community pharmacy is not specifically mentioned in the UK strategy, but Rendell said that if the evaluation of the service shows it to be cost effective, it could be commissioned more widely by the NHS.
“I think that this is a really good opportunity to demonstrate that community pharmacy … can play a really big part in this,” he said. “In terms of quality-of-life years, I think that hurdle will be met. And, therefore, I think that the new integrated care systems will want to commission it across the country.”
Munir Pirmohamed will be speaking about the implementation of pharmacogenomic testing in the NHS at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Science and Research Summit on Friday 24 June 2022. Find out more here.
Pharmacogenomic testing involves analysing DNA to predict an individual’s response to particular medicines, and similar services are already available from community pharmacies in other countries, such as the Netherlands, Canada and Australia, but have not yet been launched in the UK.
There is good evidence that testing can improve outcomes for common medicines, such as statins, antiplatelets, opioids and antidepressants.
A price for the service has not yet been finalised, but similar services available from community pharmacies in other countries cost the equivalent of £85 to £150.
The Pharmaceutical Journal approached Boots, Lloydspharmacy and Well Pharmacy to see if they have plans to launch a pharmacogenomic testing service. Lloydspharmacy said that it did not currently provide a service but did not comment on whether it has plans to do so in the future. Boots and Well Pharmacy did not respond before publication.
It comes as we speak with Munir Pirmohamed, NHS chair in pharmacogenetics, in a new episode of The PJ Pod (see below), who stressed that pharmacists will be essential to providing a pharmacogenomic testing service: “I think there is a role [for community pharmacy] and it’s how one can develop that role without overburdening the whole healthcare profession and the pharmacy profession as well,” he said.
“It may be that not every community pharmacist in a village provides that service. But there may be some sentinel sites [that] do.”