CVS Pharmacy Will Increase Genetic Testing Options for Cancer

CVS Health Corp said it will provide more patients with advanced cancer who are enrolled in some Aetna insurance plans the opportunity to receive broad genetic sequencing tests to help identify the most optimal treatment plan.

CVS is conducting an ongoing oncology pilot program in 12 states (Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah) in which patients who receive treatment regimens that follow National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines automatically receive prior authorization approval.

CVS will now add easier access to broad-panel gene sequencing tests to this pilot program for patients in its at-risk Aetna plans, according to Alan Lotvin, CVS’ chief transformation officer. CVS aquired Aetna last year for $69 billion.

Other health insurance plans can also buy into the CVS program.

What genetic sequencing can do for these patients

Through the program, genetic sequencing would be available for patients with late-stage cancer or those whose cancers had progressed. Tempus, a Chicago-based next-generation gene sequencing company, will test the samples.

According to an interview with Reuters, Mr. Lotvin said CVS’ pilot program had produced observational evidence showing that following the national cancer guidelines had resulted in fewer hospitalizations and chemotherapy treatments, improved care, reduced costs, and a lessened the burden of adverse events.