What is Pharmacogenomics

What is it

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a patient’s response to a drug. Knowing a patient’s genetically coded response to a drug before they take it helps avoid adverse drug events by customizing the medication selection and dose to meet the individual patient’s needs. Pharmacists are medication experts - they understand how drugs work in the body and how the body works on the drug. This makes pharmacists the ideal healthcare provider to interpret pharmacogenomic results and consult with the patient and other providers to personalize medication therapy. 



The APhA Foundation’s Committee to Advance Pharmacogenomics in Pharmacy Practice convened on November 7-8, 2012 in Washington, DC to discuss and outline the role of pharmacists in personalized medicine. The interdisciplinary committee represented academia, pharmacy associations, national chain pharmacy, health systems, research institute, and consultant pharmacists.



The goal of the committee meeting was to outline a strategic plan to advance pharmacists’ patient care services in pharmacogenomics. Key areas of discussion included:

  • the science of pharmacogenomics and its application to current practice
  • consumer genetic testing
  • patient safety
  • efficacy
  • clinical outcomes
  • pharmacogenomics counseling
  • patient privacy and confidentiality
  • ethics
  • treatment algorithms
  • practice models
  • data collection and management
Pharmacogenomics Committee
Name Title Affiliation
Marialice Bennett Faculty Emeritus, Pharmacy Practice and Administration The Ohio State University
Mark Cziraky  Vice President of Research Health Core, Inc.
Patrick Finley  Professor of Clinical Pharmacy University of California San Francisco
Jean Jenkins  Staff, Genomic Healthcare Branch National Human Genome Research Institute
Cal Knowlton  CEO CareKinesis, Inc.
Daniel Luce  Director, Pharmacy Services Walgreens
Leslie Mackowiak  Director Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Alan McKay  Dean Shenandoah University

Tom Menighan

Executive Vice President/CEO American Pharmacists Association
Eugene Passamani  Consultant, Division of Genomic Medicine National Human Genome Research Institute
Mary Roederer  Assistant Professor, Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education and the Department of Family Medicine,  University of North Carolina 
Jenelle Sobotka  Professor and Endowed Chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice Ohio Northern University and President, APhA Board of Trustees
Ben Bluml  Vice President, Research APhA Foundation
Lindsay Watson Project Management Specialist APhA Foundation
Mindy Smith Executive Director APhA Foundation




Through unique insight from individuals on the committee, a thematic structure for a strategic plan to advance the translation and application of pharmacogenomics in pharmacy practice was generated. The plan was created as a guide for pharmacists, other providers, patients, payers, policy-makers, and the public in efforts to implement and advocate for pharmacist-provided pharmacogenomic services.

The recommendations of the committee were integrated with suggestions from the 2009 Whitepaper report from the American Pharmacists Association titled Integrating Pharmacogenomics into Pharmacy Practice via Medication Therapy Management. This white paper included information from the Department of Health & Human Services Personalized Health Care Initiative, the Food and Drug Administration pharmacogenomics activity, and the Utilizing e-Prescribing Technologies to Integrate Pharmacogenomics into Prescribing and Dispensing Practices Stakeholder Workshop.



Read the APhA Foundation’s Strategic Plan to Advance Pharmacogenomics in Pharmacy Practice.


Looking to the Future

The APhA Foundation believes that pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine are one of the most important themes for healthcare in the coming decades and the translation of this science into practice can dramatically improve patient health outcomes. The Foundation is interested in further exploring and evaluating the pharmacist’s role in pharmacogenomics thought partnerships with corporate sponsors and other interested organizations.