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‘Super pharmacy’ CEO sets out plans for pharmacogenomics service

Around 70 Alitam branches will start offering a “cutting edge” pharmacogenomics service later this year, founder and CEO Feisal Nahaboo has revealed to C+D.

The service will then be rolled out more widely, with more than 500 Alitam-led pharmacies in the UK and Ireland set to offer it within the next three years, Mr Nahaboo said today (February 23).


Read more: Alitam group CEO reveals £1bn vision for 500 ‘super pharmacies’


The service – which Mr Nahaboo told C+D will involve a consultation with the pharmacist and joint work with experts and laboratories – hopes to deliver “precision medicine tailored to a patient’s individual genetic makeup”.

Pharmacogenomics studies how a person’s genes respond to medication, which therefore has the potential of reducing the number of hospital admissions due to harmful drug-gene interactions, Alitam claimed.


Pharmacy ideal for pharmacogenomics service


 Community pharmacy is where the “insights from pharmacogenomics will be most applicable”, Mr Nahaboo said.

“Pharmacists are already, by the nature of their job, well versed in drug-drug interactions and drug-disease interactions.

“What we’re looking at now, through the latest genomic sequencing, is how a drug will be processed by an individual. How will they metabolise it? Which dosage should we use? Which side effects are they likely to experience? Will the medicine work or not?” he asked.


Read more: 'Super pharmacy' CEO: Sector is 'screaming for private investment'


Alitam has appointed Professor Mark Ledwidge, adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine at University College Dublin, to lead on the group’s work on the pharmacogenomics service.

Mr Nahaboo predicted that within five years, pharmacists will be able to look up a patient’s genome to check for drug interactions.

“Think of the pain and suffering that can be avoided this way, not to mention the huge numbers of needless hospital admissions,” he added.

Pharmacogenomics is just one of the services that Alitam hopes to launch as part of its plan to bring a range of health services under the same roof, in 500 state-of-the-art wellness and medical centres it has dubbed “super pharmacies”.

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