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 as more medications are added to our list.
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. Pillcheck then destroys your sample and your results are never shared with your employer or insurance company.
A: To get the most out of Pillcheck, we include a review by a specially 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.
A: You should continue taking your medications as prescribed, unless your doctor suggests otherwise.
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).
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.
A: Pillcheck analyzes only the specific genes involved in drug metabolism and does not assess your risk for disease. Your results are kept private and never shared with insurance companies. As well, you are protected by federal laws that prevent insurance companies from using your results to determine coverage or pricing.
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.
A: Canada and other countries have laws that provide broad protection to individuals who undergo genetic testing. Under Canada's Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, employers and providers of goods and services (including insurance providers), cannot request or require that a person undergo a genetic test or request or require the disclosure of previous or future genetic test results.