Insurers move to cover controversial psychiatric drug tests

More insurers are covering genetic tests for psychiatric medications despite federal warnings and questions surrounding the validity of the tests, according to NPR.

Genetic testing for psychiatric medication aims to quickly match patients with the best medication instead of having them endure years of trial and error prescribing. Companies offering the tests say in addition to helping patients, they can save insurance companies from paying for ineffective drugs.

While the nation's largest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, recently began covering the tests for its 27 million individual and group plan members, many researchers still question the amount of evidence backing up the tests. The FDA has also warned that the tests may be ineffective.

As insurers begin betting on psychiatric medicine tests, manufacturers of the tests may see their market grow. One of the industry's largest testmaker, Myriad Genetics, sold about 375,000 tests in 2019 for a total of $113 million, according to NPR.

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