Medco Research Institute, AssureRx introduce new program

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — Pharmacy benefit manager Medco’s research arm is teaming up with personalized medicine and pharmacogenetics company AssureRx Health in a pilot program to evaluate adherence and medical care utilization among patients taking antidepressants and antipsychotics.

The Medco Research Institute and AssureRx announced Wednesday the launch of the PREDICT PSYMEDS program, which will use AssureRx’s multigene pharmacogenetic profile test, GeneSightRx, to help physicians understand how patients’ genetic makeups affect their abilities to tolerate and respond to certain psychiatric drugs.

“Genetic variations are important considerations for patients taking psychotropic medications, leading to differences in how patients tolerate and respond to antidepressants and antipsychotics,” Medco Research Institute president Felix Frueh said in a statement. “The PREDICT PSYMEDS pilot is designed to demonstrate how pharmacogenetic-guided prescribing can add precision to these therapies. We hope that we can demonstrate that using such technology can help improve patient drug response and reduce side effects and result in cost savings to payers.”

The Medco Research Institute will use cheek swabs from 2,000 Medco members taking one or more psychiatric drugs who switched or added medications within a prior three-month period and then follow their pharmacy and medical claims for a year after testing. It’s hoped that the results can determine whether Medco members will become more adherent to their medications and have fewer medical claims.

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