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PGx Philanthropy

The Department of Veterans Affairs is teaming up with Sanford Health to provide veterans with genetic testing, USA Today reports.

As GenomeWeb has reported, the initiative is being supported by a $25 million gift from philanthropist Denny Sanford and a matching contribution from Sanford Health and comes at no cost to vets. The program is to first be offered in Raleigh, and will first focus on pharmacogenetic testing to tell vets whether they are fast or slow metabolizers of certain drugs to help determine what drug dosages they may need, USA Today says. GenomeWeb adds that it is also to first test cancer survivors, and that the program is to then expand to 125 VA sites and 250,000 veterans by 2022.

"[Ninety] percent plus of the patients who have taken the test have found something that will inform their future healthcare, it will inform their future drug delivery," Sanford Health Executive Vice President Micah Aberson said, tells KWTX, a Waco, Texas television station.

USA Today notes that other private initiatives have been launched in recent years to address veterans' health needs, including ones from the Cohen Veterans Network and Wounded Warrior Project that focused on mental health needs. Critics, it adds, argue that such efforts to lead to the VA losing its own funding.