Pharmacogenomic testing in community pharmacies to be considered as part of UK-wide review

A review of how pharmacogenomics can reduce harmful prescribing is due to be completed by 2025.
Test tubes in a laboratory setting

The Scottish government is considering whether pharmacogenomic testing could be provided from community pharmacies as part of a review of how pharmacogenomics can reduce harmful prescribing, which is due to be completed by 2025.

In March 2022, the four UK governments co-published a series of high-level commitments designed to implement and realise the potential of genomic healthcare.

One of these commitments said: “Over the next three years, the NHS Pharmacogenomics Test Evaluation Working Group — working in consultation with key stakeholders across the system, including professional organisations, pharmacists and medicine optimisation infrastructure — will review and advise on how pharmacogenomics technology has the potential to reduce harmful prescribing by using genomic information to tailor prescriptions to a patient’s ability to metabolise and respond to certain medications.”

The Pharmaceutical Journal asked each of the UK governments how the review would affect the provision of pharmacogenomic services in their country.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government said: “The provision of pharmacogenomic services from community pharmacies is included in this review.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health in Northern Ireland also said that the possibility of community pharmacies providing pharmacogenomic testing would come within the review’s remit.

“The potential to utilise the skills of community, secondary care and general practice pharmacy teams to use pharmacogenomic testing to optimise patient outcomes will be explored,” they said.

NHS England did not respond when asked what role it was planning for community pharmacists in pharmacogenomic testing services, and the Welsh government said it was currently developing a pharmacogenomics plan for Wales.

In November 2021, NHS Scotland began a tendering process for a £66m pharmacogenomics and pharmaceutical clinical decision support service to improve the management of polypharmacy in primary and secondary care. The final framework agreement will be awarded in July 2024.

Read more: Only one in ten pharmacy professionals feels confident on pharmacogenomics

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, June 2022, Vol 308, No 7962;308(7962)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2022.1.147148

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