Genetic Mental Health Testing Now Available at Jewel-Osco
Jewel-Osco, with pharmacies in 180 locations throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, northwest Indiana and Iowa, now offers Genomind Professional PGx Express, described as the most advanced and comprehensive pharmacogenetic testing service to help guide mental health medication management for pharmacists and clinicians.
The Midwest banner’s parent company, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Co., rolled out Genomind’s test services to all Pennsylvania Acme Markets pharmacies last December. Now the number of Albertsons banner pharmacies umbrella offering Genomind’s test services has grown to 239 locations nationwide. According to Genomind, this expansion is particularly important in Illinois where, as of Jan. 1, 2020, pharmacists can administer long-acting antipsychotic and recovery medications.
Pharmacogenetics (PGx) refers to how variations in specific genes can affect a person’s response to a medication. The FDA has placed gene-specific warnings, precautions and dosage recommendations on more than 270 medications. Using Genomind’s technology, pharmacists and clinicians can collaborate on customized mental health treatment plans for their patients.
“Our expanding partnership with Albertsons Cos. and their pharmacists underscores the growing demand for PGx testing and its role in helping to address patient needs in medication management for mental health,” said Shawn Patrick O’Brien, CEO of King of Prussia, Pa.-based Genomind. “We are excited that this collaboration with the Jewel-Osco team continues to grow, contributing to a more comprehensive approach to mental health care. When there is coordinated response and support by the whole care team – pharmacists, clinicians and pharmacogenomics experts – patients are better able to lead healthier, happier lives.”
“We embrace the expansion of our pharmacists’ role in mental health treatment,” noted Ryan McCann, director of pharmacy operations at Itasca, Ill.-based Jewel-Osco. “Our pharmacists want to decrease the time, money and frustration involved with the trial-and-error process of identifying the most effective medication for a patient’s condition. They also want to help lower their patients’ risk of side effects from medication through personalized medicine.”
After getting the patient’s permission, the pharmacist teams with the patient’s health care provider to order the test and administer the noninvasive cheek swab in a specially designated area of the pharmacy. The pharmacist then sends the sample to Genomind’s lab. Within three days of receiving the sample, Genomind provides the pharmacist and ordering clinician with results on genetic variants that can affect mental health treatment. The personalized PGx test results are bundled with a suite of services that enable access to care, improve patient outcomes and lower health care costs.
Mental health represents one of the largest burdens on the U.S. health care system, with nearly one in five Americans dealing with a mental health condition, according to the Bethesda, Md.-based National Institute of Mental Health.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos., which operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal-kit company Plated, is No. 3 on Progressive Grocer’s Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.