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MedicAlert® Partners with Seryx to Offer Pharmacogenetic Test

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MedicAlert® has partnered with Seryx to offer the pharmacogenetic test called Signature Genetics™ to its product portfolio. Each year, millions of Americans fail to respond to their prescribed medications, or experience adverse reactions.

Reports indicate that medication errors cause an estimated two million Americans to be hospitalized or disabled, causing an estimated 100,000 people to die. Many of these drug reactions occur because medications are not being properly processed.

An individual's genetic makeup plays a major role in determining how quickly drugs are processed.

As part of its ongoing mission to help protect and save lives, MedicAlert® is making the Signature Genetics™ drug reaction test available to its members nationwide. Physicians will now have the ability to customize drug prescriptions, based on an individual patient's genetic makeup. The test also identifies drug combinations that can cause potentially harmful interactions.

Signature Genetics™ matches the individual patient's DNA test results against their drug regimen and the scientific literature to produce a personalized report.

The report identifies how an individual will metabolize or process medications and indicates potential serious adverse reactions to many of the most commonly prescribed drugs, including drugs used in such therapeutic areas as psychiatry (Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease), cardiology (heart disease and infarction), endocrinology (diabetes), oncology (breast cancer), and gastroenterology (reflux disease and ulcers).

This report reviews current medications and highlights future medications that are better suited to the patient's particular genetic make-up. A copy of the report is stored in the member's electronic health record in the secure MedicAlert repository, and if requested by the member, a copy can be sent to their designated physician.

"We continue to seek new products and services that will enhance the lives of our customers and business partners. The introduction of Signature Genetics(TM) shows that MedicAlert continues to lead the effort in patient safety," said Paul Kortschak, President and CEO of MedicAlert.

"Together with MedicAlert(R), our Signature Genetics Report will provide scientifically validated interpretive information and guidance for their Members and the medical profession to optimize drug therapy and minimize drug- related adverse events," said Patrick Rambaud, President and CEO of Seryx.

"In the past the challenge was to conduct genetic testing. But now genetic testing is inexpensive and straightforward. The challenge for us at this point is to process the abundance of genetic information that can be obtained with state of the art technology and to apply that knowledge to clinical medicine.

Practicing physicians need to know how genetic variations in Pharmacogenetics pathways can impact on the use and dosage of specific drugs taken by their patients as well as on drug-drug interactions.

The ability to understand and process such knowledge can make the difference between optimal and substandard medical care," said Dr. Julio Licinio, Director, Center for Pharmacogenomics & Clinical Pharmacology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior - David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.