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New study from GSC and HBM+ uncovers improvement in anxiety with pharmacogenomics-led treatment

TORONTO, ONTARIO (JUNE 16, 2020) – As part of ongoing efforts to drive patient health outcomes and maximize the value of drug spend, Green Shield Canada (GSC) and HBM+ (its health benefit management solutions division) are pleased to announce the high-level results of a groundbreaking pharmacogenomics clinical trial study which has confirmed the value of tailoring drug treatment to a person’s genetic makeup.

This single-blinded randomized controlled study followed more than 200 outpatients who had been diagnosed with major mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups – a control group, where drug optimization was based solely on a pharmacist’s clinical judgement, and an experimental group, where a pharmacist delivered pharmacogenomics-guided treatment.

Patient response was evaluated using a set of validated psychiatric instruments, including the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) and Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS).  

The study revealed that those participants in the pharmacogenomics-guided group reported significantly greater improvements over a six-month period across a range of clinical outcome measures. Specifically, PHQ-9 scores showed improvements of 36% and 18% from baseline depression severity in the pharmacogenomics and control group, respectively. Similarly, the outcomes for anxiety and disability were around two times greater in the pharmacogenomics-related group compared with the control group: GAD-7 results improved by 41% (pharmacogenomics) versus 23% (control), and SDS scores jumped by 44% (pharmacogenomics) versus 18% (control).

“We undertook this study because there were substantial gaps in knowledge regarding the downstream impact of pharmacogenomic testing on patients, but the results confirm that it can be a difference-maker for those suffering with major mental health conditions,” explains David Willows, GSC’s EVP, Digital, Innovation and Brand Experience.

“Moving forward, the study data presents a compelling picture of the important role that pharmacogenomics can play in optimizing drug therapy and helping pharmacists and physicians to improve patient health.”


For more information:
Melanie Anne Filipp
spPR Inc.



About Green Shield Canada (GSC)

GSC is Canada’s fourth-largest health and dental benefits provider, and is uniquely structured as a social enterprise with the purpose of making it easier for people to live their healthiest lives. From coast-to-coast, our service delivery includes drug, dental, extended health care, vision, hospital, and travel benefits for groups and individuals, as well as administration and benefits management services. Supported by outcomes-based sustainability strategies, advanced technology, and exceptional customer service, GSC creates innovative programs for nearly four million plan participants nationwide.


About HBM+

HBM+ is more than a pharmacy benefits manager, it is a health benefits manager. With offices in Quebec and Ontario, HBM+ provides customized white-label solutions that support drug, dental and extended health benefits for group benefits carriers, third-party payors, and government organizations across Canada. HBM+ is built on a foundation of proven technology, seamless branding, innovative claim management and administration capabilities, collaborative provider management, and solid industry expertise. They recognize that each client is unique and requires a business solution tailored to their needs.