As we further the pharmacogenomic practice, information security and the need to protect genetic information is paramount. In 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was signed into law to protect individuals from discrimination based on genetics, or genetic predisposition, to a disease. The Act doesn’t apply to life or disability insurance.
Meanwhile, work to standardize data transmission and security protocols continues and, like many other software tools, integration of the pharmacogenetics data into the primary source of patient information should continue—ideally in a way that a patient can control access.
Pharmacogenomics could also provide an area of opportunity for pharmacists, who are well-suited to expand their clinical practice skills into this area as provider status legislation is making its way through the states and point of care testing becomes more common. Retail independent pharmacists are increasingly performing point of care testing and typically have the time needed for evaluation and patient education, interpretation, and communication of recommendations of therapy changes to other members of the patient’s healthcare team.
Another promising area is in the resources and tools helping to advance pharmacogenomics. For example, PharmGKB is a pharmacogenomics knowledge base focused on the impact of human genetic variation on drug responses through various means, including pharmacogenomics information for drugs into their FDA drug labeling. Another important resource for pharmacogenomics information is the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC), and the Pharmacogenomics Research Network. CPIC is an international consortium focused on facilitating the use of pharmacogenetic testing for patient care by removing the barriers to testing.
However, acceptance of pharmacogenomics as an integral part of drug therapy by payers will be needed to increase the rate of testing across patient segments. The integration of pharmacogenomic data into the primary source of patient information will also be necessary for care providers and pharmacists to help improve patient response to drug therapies.
Although the practice of pharmacogenomics is still emerging, it is evident that medication therapy is just one more facet of patient care that is becoming much more personalized.