Rite Aid offers genetic testing of Rx efficacy
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid and Harmonyx announced Thursday the availability of select genetic tests in all Rite Aid pharmacies except those in New York. Rite Aid is the first U.S. drugstore chain to offer Harmonyx genetic testing.
The self-administered oral swab test will help patients determine the effectiveness of their prescription medication based on their genetic makeup.
Currently, Rite Aid is offering genetic testing for three classes of medications including those used to manage cardiac conditions, cholesterol and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Rite Aid pharmacists are available to help patients and physicians determine if a particular test is medically appropriate.
"At Rite Aid, we are committed to offering our customers unique and innovative products, services and programs that meet their individual wellness needs, and personalized medication therapy through genetic testing is a perfect example of such a service," said Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid EVP pharmacy. "By offering Harmonyx genetic testing to our customers, we're helping to ensure that the medication they are taking is the most effective medication to help them treat and manage their condition while avoiding unnecessary and potentially harmful side effects."
Customers can purchase the testing kit at any Rite Aid (except those in New York). Once the customer's cheek is swabbed, Rite Aid pharmacists return the sample to Harmonyx for processing. Harmonyx provides a state licensed physician to review each patient test and detailed results are returned to both the pharmacist and treating physician in as little as 24 hours once the laboratory receives the test.
Rite Aid pharmacists are available to discuss the results with the patient and their physician to find the best medication choice based on the patient's genetic makeup and other relevant clinical factors.
"Knowledge really is power so the more people who are aware of the availability and accessibility of these genetic tests, the greater the impact we can have on the health of our communities," said Bob Bean, Harmonyx president and CEO. "With our tests now being at nearly 4,000 Rite Aid locations, we have an opportunity to make a true difference in the lives of people by making sure that the medication they are taking is the right therapy for them."
FDA approves Roche’s new melanoma treatment
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced that it had approved Roche’s Cotellic (cobimetinib), a treatment for patients with advanced metastatic melanoma that can’t be removed through surgery with a certain gene mutation (BRAF V600E or V600K). The drug is meant to be used in conjunction with vemurafenib.
“As we continue to advance our knowledge of tumor biology, we have learned that cancer cells have a remarkable ability to adapt and become resistant to targeted therapies. Combining two or more treatments addressing different cancer-causing targets may help to address this challenge,” said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Today’s approval provides a new targeted treatment that, when added to vemurafenib, demonstrates greater benefit than vemurafenib alone in patients with BRAF mutation-positive melanoma.”
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