Saliva testing helps with disability management

Pharmacogenetics primed to be ‘next big thing’
By Marcel Vander Wier
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/13/2017
Saliva Test
A lab sends a green-yellow-red light report to the client’s physician, who makes the final decision on possible medical prescription alterations, says one expert. Credit: Sarah Weldon FRGS (Shutterstock)

In their latest attempt to reduce benefit plan costs, Canadian health insurance providers are starting to hone in on pharmacogenetics — studying how genetics affect an individual’s reactions to medication.

Through saliva testing, mental health medications in particular can be tailored to specific genetics, helping employees get healthier faster and return to work sooner, according to Michael Prouse, director of operations at Personalized Prescribing in Toronto.

Employers and disability managers are now looking to pharmacogenetics as a solution to mental illness and disability cases, as well as cutting down on polypharmacy — multiple medications taken by one patient — and removing non-effective medications from overall drug costs, he said.