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Kroger Health teams up to launch depression treatment pilot

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CINCINNATI — Kroger Health, the healthcare arm of The Kroger Co., announced its partnership with Myriad Genetics to pilot Myriad Genetics’ GeneSight pharmacogenomic test with Kroger Prescription Plan members. Nearly 500 Kroger pharmacies across five states will participate in the GeneSight pilot.  GeneSight is the market-leading genetic test to help clinicians personalize treatment plans for their patients with depression.

Colleen Lindholz

“Depression is a leading cause of disability and lost productivity in the United States, and only 40% of people reach remission after their first antidepressant medication,” said Colleen Lindholz, president, Kroger Health.  “We are committed to helping people combat this debilitating disease, and we’re proud to launch this pilot program. This test can help patients escape the frustrating process of trying multiple medications in the hopes of finding one that works.”

GeneSight is a laboratory-developed pharmacogenomic test that uses cutting-edge technology to analyze 12 genes known to affect the clinical performance of 56 common medications used to treat depression.  The results of the GeneSight test report can help clinicians understand how a patient’s unique genomic makeup may impact certain psychiatric drugs and make drug treatment choices for that patient.  In a recent large clinical study of 1,167 patients with moderate to very severe depression who were currently failing medication, GeneSight-guided care resulted in a 50 percent improvement in patient remission compared to treatment-as-usual.

As part of the partnership, GeneSight testing will be facilitated through Kroger Health pharmacists at select locations.  In areas where the test is being piloted, Kroger Prescription Plan members who have failed one or more antidepressant medications will receive information about the GeneSight test from a Kroger pharmacist or in the mail.  Members will then be referred to their healthcare provider to determine if a test is appropriate for them.  The goals of the program are to improve outcomes for patients, improve productivity of Kroger employees, and lower overall costs to the health plan.

“Our partnership with Kroger Health centers on a shared vision to help more people with depression get well sooner,” said Chip Parkinson, executive vice president, payer markets and reimbursement, Myriad Genetics.  “Additionally, we believe the GeneSight test will help Kroger achieve significant cost savings resulting from decreased drug spend, health care costs and enhanced employee productivity.”

Kroger Health includes more than 22,000 health care practitioners serving customers in more than 2,200 pharmacies, over 200 clinics, and through several digital channels and solutions. Their trained professionals provide services, treatment and coaching in multiple areas, from nutrition counseling and weight loss programs, to diabetes prevention and immunization services. The GeneSight pilot aligns with Kroger Health’s broader health and wellness initiatives designed to offer personalized healthcare solutions to the 60 million customers that shop at Kroger’s family of companies – including Kroger, Ralph’s, Fry’s, Fred Meyer and King Soopers.


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