Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacy Education in the UK: Mind the Generation Gap

Kimberly Jamie


Background: Pharmacogenetics is concerned with genetically-determined drug response variability and the need for pharmacists to be educated in pharmacogenetics is widely acknowledged.

Aims: To identify the opportunities and challenges presented by pharmacogenetics in pharmacy practice.

Methods: Thirty eight semi-structured interviews were undertaken with numerous pharmacogenetics and pharmacy stakeholders and practitioners in the United Kingdom (UK).

Results: A key theme emerging from the data was that a generational knowledge gap exists between young, newly trained pharmacists who were relatively genetically literate and more experienced pharmacists who have limited genetics training in professional development.

Conclusion: The knowledge gap identified could impact on the quality and consistency of patient advice and mean pharmacists are overlooked as central practitioners in delivering pharmacogenetic medicine in the future. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and other professional bodies should engage with the debates and challenges presented by pharmacogenetics and seek to bridge this generational gap. 


Education, Generation, Pharmacogenetics

Full Text:



Akhtar, S. (2002) Pharmacogenomics: are pharmacists ready for genotyped prescribing? The Pharmaceutical Journal, 268, 296-299.

Burton, H. & Shuttleworth, A. (2003) Genetics education for pharmcists. The Pharmaceutical Journal, 270, 84-85.

Clemerson, J., Payne, K., Bissell, P. & Anderson, C. (2006) Pharmacogenetics, the next challenge for Pharmacy? Pharmacy World and Science, 28, 126-130.

Compass (2008) Adverse drug reactions wastes NHS £2BN (on-line). Available at: http://www.compass news/item.asp?n=1551. Accessed October, 2011.

Connor, S. (2003) ‘Glaxo chief: our drugs do not work on most patients’. The Independent (on-line). Available at: http:// science/glaxo-chief-our-drugs-do-not-work-on-most-patients-575942.html. Accessed October, 2011.

Department of Health (2003) Our inheritance, our future: realising the potential of genetics in the NHS. London: HMSO.

Farger, E., Eddy, C., Newman, W., Qasim, F., Tricker, K., Elliot, R. & Payne, K. (2007) Patients’ and healthcare professionals’ views on pharmacogenetic testing and its future delivery in the NHS. Future Medicine, 8, 1511-1519.

Human Genetics Commission (2003) Genes direct: ensuring the effective oversight of genetic tests supplied directly to the public. London: HGC.

Houstma, D., Guchelaar, H.J. & Gelderblom, H. (2010) Pharmacogenetics in oncology: a promising field. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 16, 155-163.

Lafit, D.A. & McKay, A.B. (2005) Pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics instruction in colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 69, 152-156.

Lazarou, J., Pomeranz, B. & Corey, P. (1998) Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients: a meta- analysis of prospective studies. Journal of the American Medical Association, 279, 1200.

Maitland-van der Zee, A., Klungel, O. & de Boer, A. (2004) Pharmacogenetics in health-care practice. Pharmacy World & Science, 26, 253-255.

May, C. & Finch, T. (2009) Implementing, embedding and integrating practices: an outline of normalization process theory. Sociology, 43, 535-554.

Murphy, J.E., Green, J.S., Adams, L.A., Squire, R.B., Kuo, G.M. & McKay, A. (2010) Pharmacogenomics in the curricula of schools and college of pharmacy in the United States. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74, 1- 10.

Newton, R., Lithgow, J., Li Wan Po, A., Bennett, C. & Farndon, P. (2007) How will pharmacogenetics impact on pharmacy practice? pharmacists' views and educational priorities. London: NHS, NGEDC and RPSGB.

Streetman, D. (2007) Emergence and evolution of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics in clinical pharmacy over the past 40 years. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 41, 2038-2041.

Webster, A., Martin, P., Lewis, G. & Smart, A. (2004) Integrating pharmacogenetics into society: in Search of a Model. Nature Reviews Genetics, 5, 663-669.


  • There are currently no refbacks.
article/comments.tpl article/footer.tpl