Kroger wants to fight depression

Nearly 500 Kroger pharmacies across five states will participate in the GeneSight pilot. 

Cincinnati-based Kroger Health, the healthcare arm of The Kroger Co. that provides health, wellness and nutrition solutions to the company’s consumers, has developed a partnership with Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics to pilot Myriad Genetics’ GeneSight pharmacogenomic test with Kroger prescription plan members.

GeneSight is a genetic test that helps clinicians personalize treatment plans for their patients with depression. Nearly 500 Kroger pharmacies across five states will participate in the GeneSight pilot. 

"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 of 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."

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 providers 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 for payer markets and reimbursement of 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."