Manulife launches personalized medicine program

Manulife announced that its Personalized Medicine program (known industry-wide as pharmacogenomics) will now be available for Extended Health Care members with certain qualifying conditions at no additional cost.

The genetic test, done via a saliva sample, helps predict how effective certain medications may be depending on an individual’s genetic makeup. Based on the results, health care practitioners can then tailor treatment plans that are personalized and precise, reducing side effects and increasing the odds of successful patient outcomes.

This Personalized Medicine program has been in a pilot stage with select Manulife Group Benefits members since 2021 and “the results have been encouraging” – 80% of members changed their medications in consultation with their healthcare providers, and 86% of members reported an improvement in their mental health.

“As a trained pharmacist, the potential that our Personalized Medicine program has to help improve quality of life for millions of Canadians is exciting and encouraging. As one of the first insurance providers in Canada to add this test to our suite of coverage options, we’re underscoring our commitment to be a true health partner to our members.” – Ashesh Desai, head of Group Benefits, Manulife Canada.

“With pharmacogenomic testing, we can gain valuable insight into how people may breakdown and process certain medications. Testing may help identify some medications that should be avoided or prescribed at a different dose. Pharmacogenomic testing is one tool that may help narrow the number of medications to try for certain chronic conditions. Testing does not provide information regarding response to all medications that are currently prescribed, nor responses to dietary and herbal supplements. Once a member receives their test results, they should discuss the best next steps with their healthcare provider.” – Dr. Steve Pomedli, Manulife’s medical director of Group Benefits through Cleveland Clinic Canada.