Canadians living with mental health conditions stand to save over $57 billion with use of pharmacogenetic testing

Pharmacogenetic testing can help patients avoid years-long ‘trial and error’ phase of a treatment plan, transforming the experience of Canadians living with physical or psychological pain 

TORONTO, June 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Inagene Diagnostic Inc., a Canadian pharmacogenetic testing company, and Calian Group Ltd., one of Canada's largest national health services organizations, today announced the results of a ground-breaking pilot to evaluate the real-world value of pharmacogenetic (“PGx”) testing in optimizing the treatment of chronic pain and mental health conditions. The pilot found that employing a PGx test at the beginning of patient treatments would have saved patients on average over 3.3 years of unsuccessful “trial and error” with medications and in turn prevented over $3,000 in wasted drug costs per person.

By age 40, 1 in 2 Canadians will have had or have a mental illness1, meaning the combined savings for just those who will experience mental illness could reach over $57 billion with the use of PGx testing.

Pain and mental health conditions were significant issues prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this past year has resulted in an explosion of mental health conditions in Canada2 and around the world, and people with chronic pain have seen their condition worsen3. Canada must determine a better way to effectively support the growing number of people seeking treatment for new and existing pain and mental health conditions. The ripple effect of these chronic illnesses is felt across our society from the individual suffering of patients, to lost income, to stress on our healthcare system.

“We need to think differently about how we are addressing treatment for those affected by pain and mental illness,” said Nancy White, CEO at Inagene Diagnostics. “This pilot illustrates what is possible for Canadians living with physical or psychological pain and how their journey could be transformed for the better through the data-driven insights that PGx testing can provide.”

In the Inagene-Calian pilot, PGx testing led to a change in treatment plan for 76 per cent of patients involved, indicating that the majority had still not found optimal treatment despite years of taking medications. Notably, 98 per cent had previously tried and subsequently discontinued an average of 6.1 drugs that PGx testing revealed were genetically destined to fail. Prior to the pilot, 64 per cent reported having missed work because of sub-optimally treated symptoms or drug side effects, with nearly 60 per cent having been forced to go on disability for a year or more.

"Based on the results of the pilot, I believe every chronic pain and mental health patient for whom a medication is being considered, should have the Inagene test completed prior to drug initiation,” said Dr Ron Whalen, MD CCFP(EM) FCFP, Co-Medical Director of the PEI Pain Institute, and treating physician of the Inagene-Calian pilot. “I look back at the patients we have followed for a number of years and wonder just how different their life could have been if we had this test ten years ago.”

In Inagene’s PGx test, a simple cheek swab reveals which medications and doses are likely to work best, and which to avoid based on individual DNA. Inagene and Calian plan to collaborate to drive awareness of pharmacogenetic testing, and the power it holds to transform the journey and outcomes of those diagnosed with mental health or pain conditions. Physicians will now be able to leverage pharmacogenetic testing to skip trial and error and find treatment success, faster.

“Calian is excited to partner with Inagene to support innovative approaches in personalized healthcare,” says Gordon McDonald, President of Health Services at Calian. “Reducing the time and cost of trialing medications for pain management and mental health treatment has the potential to significantly improve the well-being of Canadians.”

About Inagene Diagnostics Inc.
Inagene™ Diagnostics Inc. is a CLIA accredited Canadian pharmacogenetic testing company located in Toronto. Inagene’s Personalized Insights™ tests focus on providing comprehensive and reliable genetic tests to guide drug selection and treatment. Learn more at

About Calian Health
Calian is one of Canada's largest national health services organizations, combining innovation with decades of experience in the management of healthcare professionals, primary care and occupational health clinics, pharmaceutical research and Patient Support Programs. Learn more at

About Primacy Management Inc.        
Primacy Management Inc., a Calian Company, is Canada’s largest medical property management company. Primacy has over 150 clinics across all 10 Canadian provinces that physicians utilize as their primary practice locations, providing medical services to over 6 million Canadians annually. Learn more at

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Samantha Campana, Agnostic