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Veronika Litinski

The most common challenge with prescription drugs is unwelcome side effects, and sometimes, they are simply not effective for the individual. We help people unlock the information in their DNA to feel better sooner. Through in-depth DNA analysis and independent pharmacist review, Pillcheck users receive clear online results to guide their drug choice based on their own unique genetic disposition.

Tell us about yourself?

Everyone knows that genetics impact our height or eye colour. By training, I am a medicinal chemist and lived in Europe, North America, and Asia. Enjoying food from all these different places brought into focus how genetics also affects how our bodies react differently to many pharmaceuticals. For a medicine to work, it often has to undergo a transformation by the cells in our bodies, just like we do with food. No wonder that even properly prescribed medications can be ineffective or have adverse effects for some people!

Our team at Pillcheck is a mix of people from different backgrounds, and IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility), a vitally important framework for many, comes to life with Pillcheck at our company.

I became a devoted supporter of DNA-guided prescribing after assessing the high cost and misery caused by our “treatment as usual” imprecise prescribing practices, especially in a multi-ethnic country like Canada.

I first got immersed in the challenging process of digitization of health services in Canada while working with a portfolio of companies at MaRS in Toronto.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

For entrepreneurs, life is about juggling priorities. As a health services company, we stayed away from marketing or advertising until the Pillcheck application was fully engineered. We are on V19.5 now. In retrospect, we have focused for too long on completing clinical trials to demonstrate that having Pillcheck indeed helps patients. For example, people with moderate depression and anxiety recovered on average 10 weeks faster when the Pillcheck insights guided their selection of drugs and dosages.

We started to engineer a good front-end experience only after completing this and another study of the prevalence of mismatched pain medications, such as hydromorphine, among older patients.

We only invested resources into a great front-end experience for patients and doctors last year. Have a look, and tell us what you think:

What problem does your business solve?


Even properly prescribed medications can be ineffective or have adverse effects. Current treatment guidelines are based on the fallacy that what is best for the average population is best for the individual. While the intent was meant to allow for a more equitable distribution of health care, the disadvantage is that no one receives optimal health care.

Pillcheck’s DNA-guided prescribing (i.e. based on the science of pharmacogenetics) is proven more accurate in assessing variable drug response than estimating dosage based on patient race or ethnicity, the path many prescribers follow.

Pillcheck is a software-enabled service platform onboarded by many of Canada’s largest insurers, employers, pharmacies, and clinics. Many employer-sponsored health plans choose to offer an “add-on” Pillcheck benefit to help their members optimize the use of drug plans, prevent adverse events, and avoid lengthy disability.

Pillcheck is eligible for reimbursement through a healthcare spending account or claimed as a medical expense for taxes.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Over the past few years, we have watched a global health crisis unfold amid much hope and humanity. We each have a role to play in building the more just, inclusive, and respectful community we want and need. A decade ago, I moved to a small town to collaborate with talented engineers and geneticists on a Canadian-made app. We share a passion for improving health and access to personalized health insights for everyone. Pillcheck helps a lot of people living in rural areas and those who need to manage their health conditions with pharmaceuticals.

What is your magic sauce?

The science of pharmacogenetics is documented through the published guidelines. Thus, in theory, all pharmacogenetic testing providers deliver the same lab test. With close to a decade of experience delivering DNA-guided prescribing services under our belt, we figured out what matters most to our clients – individuals, prescribing clinicians, and programs that pay for health services:

  1. People can share their personalized reports with any healthcare provider or prescriber.
  2. Reports are built according to the guidelines to ensure the prescriber’s confidence in the results—no “black box” reporting.
  3. Genetic testing panel is optimized for the ethnicities present in the country; Broad coverage of health conditions to support whole-person perspective and changing health needs throughout life (i.e. technology supports easy updates to the content of the genetic test and drug references).
  4. And most importantly, a dedicated expert trained in pharmacology assists patients and their doctors to apply the DNA insights to optimize treatment for each person.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

The vision is that any person in Canada who wishes to benefit from the DNA-guided prescribing practices has access to Pillcheck PGx service at no cost to them. Each client’s report is regularly updated to provide PGx-based medication management over their lifetime.

Currently, the medicine selected, dose, quantity, time interval, and duration have all been determined by using what is best for the ‘average’ individual, and treatments are accessed in the context of the varied negotiated ‘deals’ with the pharmaceutical companies.

In five years, I do NOT want to see anyone – neighbours, friends, and community at large – to be treated as an ‘average’. We are all unique. Why should our meds be the same?

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Affordability. For a healthcare company in Canada to succeed, its services must be reimbursed either as part of a healthcare procedure, which is covered by our tax-funded health system or submitted as a claim on your private insurance plan. Having studies published in peer-reviewed journals is among the prerequisites, qualifying an innovative clinical-grade service for consideration by the experts judging what gets covered.

To ensure that as many people as possible get access to Pillcheck, we have been persuading insurance companies to cover the cost of the service. We work with many progressive employers and insurers who choose to cover a Pillcheck program for their plan members.

How can people get involved?

A person will need to place an order for oneself online because there is a consent form to sign as part of the process. There is also an option for a custodian to sign the online consent. Go to and click “Order Now”.

If you are a business looking for an easy way to support your diverse workforce and their families, reach out for a quote:

Once the order is placed, you’ll receive a confirmation email for the order, plus another email inviting you to verify your Pillcheck Portal account. This is the secure, online portal where you can access your Pillcheck results when they are complete. You will be notified by email when they are ready. Within the customer’s account is an easy-to-use Medical Profile to share their information, comments, or questions for the pharmacist review. Pillcheck analyzes the sample and generates the Pillcheck Report. Next, a Pillcheck Pharmacist reviews the case and writes one Pharmacist Opinion Letter (POL) referencing the DNA analysis and medical information provided by the customer. Pillcheck customers will have ongoing access to their Pillcheck results and can securely share them with any healthcare provider. In addition, customers and their doctor can contact Pillcheck or the reviewing pharmacist with any questions.

Made in CA does not endorse Pillcheck or the use of DNA-guided prescribing services; this interview is merely for informational purposes. For more information about DNA-guided prescribing services, speak to your medical practitioner.