UPDATE: March 10. 2020: Albertsons has expanded its partnership with mental health company Genomind to offer its genetic testing services in 180 Jewel-Osco pharmacies in Iowa, Indiana and the Chicago metropolitan area. The integration, which started in 2018, expanded in December to all Acme pharmacies in Pennsylvania and is now available at 239 Albertsons-owned stores nationwide.
Through the service, pharmacists can offer educational materials on Genomind's genetic testing service to mental health patients, and then help administer the test if the patient chooses to move forward. The service identifies genetic variants that can help improve the quality of treatment, according to Genomind.
- Albertsons is expanding its partnership with mental health company Genomind to offer genetic testing for patients at all Acme pharmacies in Pennsylvania and select Albertsons pharmacies in Idaho, according to a press release.
- Called Genomind Professional PGx Express, the service offers comprehensive genetic testing to support mental health medication management. It also incorporates Genomind’s proprietary software system featuring information about how drugs interact with patient genotypes.
- Other features of the partnership include consultations for pharmacy workers with Genomind’s experts, an Rx MetaType Card that provides the patient’s genotype and expected impact of certain drugs and access to a collaborative digital platform.
Genomind's service is aimed at improving medications and treatment for mental health patients. According to a release from Albertsons and Genomind, the Food and Drug Administration has placed gene-specific warnings and dosing recommendations on more than 270 medications, opening up demand for personalized treatment plans that are more effective than conventional trial-and-error approaches.
Roughly one in five U.S. adults has been diagnosed with a mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Barriers to mental healthcare services include limited options and long waits as well as lack of awareness.
“Our pharmacists want to decrease the time, money, and frustration involved with the trial-and-error process of identifying the most effective medication for a patient’s condition," Ryan McCann, Jewel-Osco's director of pharmacy operations, said in a statement. "They also want to help lower their patients’ risk of side effects from medication through personalized medicine.”
Kroger has also seen the value in offering mental healthcare services. Last July, the grocer announced a partnership with Myriad Genetics to administer a pharmacogenomic test to Kroger Health Plan members. The test analyzes 12 genes that impact how 56 common mental illness medications work to help healthcare professionals prescribe the right medication to treat depression.
Health and wellness continues to be a popular channel for grocers exploring opportunities in differentiation. A recent Food Marketing Institute survey of 39 retailers concluded that 90% maintained health and wellness programs, with an 85% increase in activity in the offering since 2017.