Consumers' views of pharmacogenetics: A qualitative study

C. A. Haddy, Helena Ward, Manya Angley, Ross McKinnon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Adverse drug reactions are recognized as a significant public health issue. Pharmacogenetics (PGx) provides a potential means of preventing some adverse drug reactions by predicting the optimal medication dose for an individual; however, PGx is rarely used in clinical practice. Thus far, there have been few studies investigating consumers' perceptions of the barriers to the implementation of PGx in clinical practice. Objectives: This study explored the views of the general public regarding their current use of medications, and their experiences of side effects and opinions on PGx. Methods: Members of the general public who suffered a chronic medical condition and/or had an immediate family member with a chronic medical condition were recruited to form 5 separate focus groups (n = 35). Three separate age ranges were used in the focus groups. A questioning route was developed and used in focus groups to determine participants' experiences with medication use and opinions on PGx (referred to as " Personalized Medicine"). Focus group discussions were transcribed by 2 separate investigators, and qualitative analysis, based on the framework approach, was applied to the data. Data were independently coded to identify key themes then compared both within and between focus groups. Results: A common theme was a desire to have a holistic approach to disease diagnosis and medication selection. A wide range of views were expressed by the focus group participants. Concerns were raised regarding the current level of side effects experienced with medications. Storage and privacy of genetic information, and the costs involved, were also seen as potential barriers to implementation of PGx. Conclusions: PGx testing was seen as a potential positive contribution, but only if other factors were considered during the prescribing process. As participants desired a high level of information and effective communication from their health-care professionals, PGx education of clinicians and pharmacists will be essential to satisfy consumers' requirements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)221-231
    Number of pages11
    JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


    • Adverse drug reactions
    • Consumer
    • Focus groups
    • Personalized medicine
    • Pharmacogenetics


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