Knowledge, Attitudes and Education of Pharmacists Regarding Pharmacogenetic Testing

Mary W Roederer; Marcia Van Riper; John Valgus; George Knafl; Howard McLeod


Personalized Medicine. 2012;9(1):19-27. 

In This Article


With the increase in evidence supporting the use of pharmacogenetics in clinical practice, a panel of experts from the University of North Carolina (UNC; NC, USA) Center for Genomics and Society and the UNC Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy (IPIT), created a survey that addressed not only knowledge of pharmacogenetics, but also attitudes regarding pharmacogenetic testing. The survey was evaluated by an interdisciplinary group of nurses, physicians and pharmacists with expertise in pharmacogenetic testing and pilot-tested with five clinicians prior to the beginning of data collection. The survey included: six background information questions, two questions designed to assess overall perceptions of understanding regarding genetics and pharmacogenetics, ten basic knowledge questions (five about genetics and five about pharmacogenetics), eight questions concerning attitudes about pharmacogenetic testing (four about pharmacogenetic testing in general and four focusing on pharmacogenetic testing to guide warfarin therapy), four questions for clinicians with prescriptive privileges, and two questions developed to assess interest in future educational offerings regarding pharmacogenetic testing.

The Institutional Review Board at the UNC at Chapel Hill determined that the Institutional Review Board approval was not required because responses to the survey were anonymous. An email invitation to participate with a link to an online survey through the survey engine, Survey Monkey, was distributed to 9516 pharmacists licensed in the state of North Carolina, USA, via the NC Board of Pharmacy distribution list in February of 2009.[102]

Statistical Analysis

Descriptive statistics were generated for all respondents as a group, including frequencies for categorical variables and means for continuous variables. Knowledge scores (i.e., total correct out of the five genetics questions, out of the five pharmacogenetics questions, and out of all ten questions) were compared across selected categorical respondent characteristics using one-way analysis of variance tests. When associated F tests were significant, post hoc analyses were conducted using Duncan's multiple range test to identify respondent groups with different mean knowledge. All statistical analyses were performed using SAS software system version 9.2. In all circumstances p-values of less than 0.05 were used to define significance.


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