FAQ

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Q: What is Pillcheck?

A: Variations in your DNA determine the way you process medications—whether you will benefit from taking a medication, or if it may potentially cause negative side effects. Pharmacogenetics (PGx) is the study of inherited genetic makeup that affects your response to medications. Pillcheck identifies these variations to assess whether a medication is likely to be safe and effective and provides optimal dosage recommendations. The Pillcheck service includes the drug response test, a personalized report, and a pharmacist’s letter. Your report will list your body’s predicted response to all Pillcheck-covered medications and can be regularly updated.

Q: How does the process work?

A: The test is easy and painless. The kit consists of a swab, which looks like an oversized Q-tip, that you rub against the inner surfaces of both cheeks to collect a sample of cheek cells. DNA taken from cheek cells is just as viable as DNA from a blood sample. You only need to ensure that you do not eat, drink or smoke for at least one hour before collecting the sample. When your report and letter are ready, you will be notified by email that you can download them from your Pillcheck account. You can share them with healthcare practitioners of your choice.

Q: Why should a PGx-trained pharmacist review my Pillcheck report?

A: To get the most out of Pillcheck, we include a review by a PGx-trained pharmacist, who will write a letter summarizing your results for your prescribing doctor. You may also share your report with a pharmacist of your choice.

Q: Should I continue my medications while waiting for my test results?

A: You should continue taking your medications as prescribed, unless your doctor suggests otherwise.

Q: Which medications does Pillcheck cover?

A: View a full list of covered medications here. Pillcheck covers more than 130 commonly prescribed medications in several treatment areas, including cardiac and gastrointestinal conditions, mental health, pain management and oncology. Genetic testing for medications treating these conditions is recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA), Health Canada, Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC), and Dutch Pharmacogenetics Working Group (DPWG).

Q: My medications are not on Pillcheck. Why should I order it?

A: Pillcheck provides proactive insights for your future medication needs even if your current prescriptions are not included. With Pillcheck, healthcare practitioners can better select medications matching your pharmacogenetic profile.

Q: Does the Pillcheck test work well for different people, regardless of gender and ethnicity? What genes do you test?

A: The Pillcheck test uses carefully selected genetic markers. It is optimized for enhanced sensitivity providing more accurate results for ethnically diverse populations, regardless of gender.

We test for genetic variations affecting liver enzymes, namely the CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2B6, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4/5 as well as in other genes affecting drug transport or metabolism including SLCO1B1, TPMT, DPYD, IL28B/IFNL3 and VKORC1.

Q: How much does Pillcheck cost?

A: The Pillcheck medication optimization service costs $499 (plus applicable taxes). Check with your employer to see if it is a covered benefit in your plan. Pillcheck is a permitted Health Spending Account claim and is also an eligible expense for income tax deduction.

Q: Why do I need to sign the consent form?

A: Pillcheck analyzes specific genes involved in drug metabolism—only a very small part of your DNA. Your informed consent is required for all tests that involve DNA collection in order to ensure that you understand the procedure and its limitations.

Q: Does Pillcheck test for any medical conditions?

A: Pillcheck analyzes only the specific genes involved in drug metabolism and does not assess your risk for disease.

Q: Will it impact individual’s insurance coverage?

A: Health benefits and insurance companies may cover the cost of Pillcheck service as an optional benefit. Pillcheck results do not impact coverage decisions.

Pillcheck does NOT assess any genes related to disease risk or disease diagnostics and does not affect patients’ insurance. Only specific, well-identified DNA variations related to drug response are analyzed by Pillcheck. Once the test is complete, any remaining DNA is destroyed after 30 days.

For more details please refer to our Privacy Policy and Consent Form.

Q: How do I know that information is kept private?

A: Individuals have full ownership and control over their Pillcheck test results. Personal data is not shared without prior authorization as described in the Informed Consent Form. Only the individual can decide who has access to the report and can revoke access at any time or request deletion of the information.

Privacy of genetic and personal data is protected by the Bill S201, HIPPA and PIPEDA regulations. Pillcheck service is fully compliant with these regulations. Except as expressly set forth in the patient’s Informed Consent, results will not be shared with any third party, including insurance company and employer.

For more details please refer to our Privacy Policy and Consent Form.

Q: What happens to my sample?

A: Only specific, well-identified DNA variations related to drug response are analyzed by the lab. This is analyzed and the results used to generate a personalized report listing your body’s predicted response to all Pillcheck-covered medications. Once the test is complete, any remaining DNA is destroyed after 30 days.

Q: Why is Pillcheck not covered by my provincial health plan?

A: Drug response testing is not covered by provincial health plans because it is new to the market. Reimbursement will be determined once the demand for these services is assessed. If you have private insurance coverage, the test can be reimbursed through your Health Spending Account (HSA).

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