PGx Tests without a Doctor’s order advances in the AZ Legislature – thanks to my suggestion

26 Feb

    February 10, 2016 I testified in front of the Senator Nancy Barto, Chair, and the AZ State Senate Health Committee on a bill I urged them to put on the books allowing people to request a PGx (PharmacoGenomic – DNA) test without a doctor’s order from a licensed and certified caregiver.  On that date the Committee passed it 7 – 0 and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

 

    Yesterday, February 25, 2016,  the AZ State Senate passed SB 1366 with a 28 – 0 vote and it was sent to the House.  Representative John Kavanagh is the co-sponsor of this bill, which will soon come up for a vote in their Chambers.

 

PGx – PharmacoGenomic Test

 

            This is a DNA test that is a non-invasive buckle swab inside each cheek with a primary purpose of eliminating ADR = Adverse Drug Reaction in patients.  Both Mayo and Cancer Treatment Centers of America do PGx tests immediately on any new patient because they continue to see the value.

 

            ADR is the #4 cause of death today … is responsible for hundreds of thousands of ER visits monthly and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations annually.

 

            The FDA has issued a “Black Box Warning” on roughly 150 prescription medications they deem potentially harmful to some people and have ordered doctors to do a PGx test on any patient they are prescribing those medications to.  Unfortunately, doctors are ignoring that order and my guess is because the tests are not currently paid by insurance companies.  Insurance companies take the lead from Medicare for their “standard of care” payments.  As of today, Medicare is not covering PGx tests, but I am certain they will soon start.

 

            This is the list of black label drugs the FDA warns that a PGx test should be given to a patient prior to a doctor’s prescribing

 

          http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/Pharmacogenetics/ucm083378.htm

 

 

            What most do not know is that, for then FDA to “approve” a drug it only has to be successful in treating one in 20 patients.  Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, doesn’t it?  All the more reason for a PGx test.

 

 

            In a 20 – 24 page report showing the results of this test the Doctor will know what prescription meds will work best for a patient based on their DNA and which ones the patient should NEVER receive.  Also, which medications will work best with the other medications the patient is taking so as to avoid ADR for that specific patient.  Without this test doctors GUESS at medications based on what the Pharma rep tells them about the drugs and they GUESS at the proper dosages.

 

            This test will also tell the doctor if the patient has a high or low metabolism, or a normal metabolism.  Prescription doses are set for a normal metabolism.  If a patient has a high metabolism their body will not have time to absorb the medication before their body “eliminates” it.  If the patient has a low metabolism then the patient will have a drug over-dose.

 

            Examples of problems … The wife of the Dean of Business at DeVry was diagnosed last year with breast cancer.  Her doctor put her on a medication his pharma rep told him treats breast cancer.  6 months later she went to her doctor and the cancer had spread to her cervix.  They immediately went to Mayo (where they have routinely done PGx tests on new patients for years) and the test showed the medication was totally ineffective for her and was no more beneficial than water for her DNA.

 

            The father of a friend of mine in NE Iowa was on several meds and was having problems.  They did a PGx test and it was found that one of the meds his doctor had him on – that he was paying $400 per month on – was doing nothing for him.  Again, a glass of water would have been just as effective.

 

            One of the people in my networking group is on 10 meds from 3 different doctors and he was having adverse reactions to the meds.  He talked with each of his 3 doctors asking them to do a PGx test and each of those doctors laughed at him.  They have also told him they do not know what is wrong with his health — yet they prescribed 10 different medications!  He told me that he would have gladly paid for the test to learn what the problem was. 

 

            The cost is in the range of about $300 +/- …. But, to avoid these kinds of problems it is well worth it.

           

 

John Chandler …602.482.0017 … johnc@chandlersearch.net 

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