MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Skin cancer screening is coming to Lovell Drugs through an agreement with MedX Health Corp. and the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN).
Plans call for the 12-store Canadian drug chain to offer in-pharmacy scanning of skin moles and lesions at its locations in Oshawa and Whitby, Ontario. MedX said the service will use its SIAscopy technology for the screening, and patients’ medical history and scans will be transmitted over the Ontario Telemedicine Network to dermatologists for diagnosis.
“More and more, we are seeing pharmacies at the front line in offering solutions to major public health issues,” Rita Winn, general manager and chief executive officer of Oshawa, Ontario-based Lovell Drugs, said in a statement. “Skin cancer is at epidemic levels and can be dramatically reduced by early screening. Lovell Drugs has always been at the forefront of patient care, and we are excited to bring this service to our valued customers.”
MedX’s SIAscopy technology — embedded in its SIAMETRICS, SIMSYS and MoleMate products — includes handheld devices that use light and its remittance to view up to 2 mm beneath suspicious moles and lesions in a pain-free, noninvasive manner.
The company said its software then creates five real-time images of the moles or lesions, which are then encrypted and transmitted — along with the patient’s medical history — to a dermatologist for assessment.
“We are very excited to be working with Lovell Drugs and the Ontario Telemedicine Network and look forward to launching this pilot, so that we can begin offering this service in North America,” stated Rob von der Porten, CEO of Mississauga-based MedX. “Currently, MedX’s SIAscopy technology is deployed in approximately 200 locations in Norway, Sweden and the U.K., so it is especially rewarding to be launching in our home province.
MedX noted that when the service is fully rolled out, it will dramatically reduce patient wait times to have a suspicious mole or lesion diagnosed by a dermatologist.
“The pharmacy setting provides ease of access for screening,” von der Porten explained, “as this is the key to the early diagnosis of skin cancers, which in turn is critical to receiving life-saving treatment.”
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada, with an estimated 6,500 new cases of melanoma and 76,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer occurring annually. The nation has a population of 36 million people but only 565 practicing dermatologists, which has led to long wait times and patients’ poor compliance when it comes to early screening, MedX reported.
“We believe that working with the OTN and outlets such as Lovell Drugs will help accelerate screening and treatment of suspicious skin conditions, while leveraging the skills of dermatologists,” von der Porten added.
Last July, MedX announced a mole-scanning pilot using its SIAscopy technology at 25 Alphega Pharmacies, part of the Walgreens Alliance Boots retail network, in the United Kingdom. The technology also is being used at 100 Boots pharmacies in Norway and at more than 30 Apotek Hjartat pharmacies in Sweden.