Controversial DNA tests promise to match patients with correct psychiatric drugs. And now some insurers are paying for them

| | October 25, 2019
genetic testing for psychiatric medication x
Image: Pharmacogenic testing
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As a teenager, Katie Gruman was prescribed one mental health drug after another. None seemed to help her manage symptoms of anxiety and bipolar disorder, so she self-medicated with alcohol and illicit drugs.

It would take five years, and trying more than 15 different medications, before she found meds that actually helped.

Companies that make genetic tests like the one Gruman used say they can save patients and doctors from prolonged searching for the right medication and save insurance companies from paying for ineffective drugs. But many researchers say the tests don’t have enough evidence backing them up. The Food and Drug Administration has warned that the tests could potentially steer patients towards the wrong medications. Nonetheless, UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest insurer, began covering them October 1 for its 27 million individual and group plans.

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If the prediction is correct, it would likely fuel a market that has seen its largest test maker, Myriad Genetics, sell about 375,000 of its psychiatric medicine tests in the 2019 fiscal year, according to Jack Meehan, an industry analyst for Barclays. Myriad reported that it sold $113 million worth of the tests.

Read full, original post: DNA Tests For Psychiatric Drugs Are Controversial But Some Insurers Are Covering Them

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