Past Event: Calgary Drug Trends Summit

October 25, 2018
Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Calgary

The 2018 Calgary Drug Trends Summit

Join us for the 2018 Calgary Drug Trends Summit to learn about the latest industry developments and topics that will impact your drug plan.

This full-morning event will feature presentations that will educate plan sponsors and advisors to help them make informed decisions for their plan members. Sessions will examine specific disease states and challenges, new drug treatment categories/offerings and key drug trends.

This is a half-day conference. Price: $129.00 plus tax.

Who Should Attend?

Employers responsible for drug plans, benefits, wellness, HR, corporate health; brokers, benefit consultants and advisors.


Francesca Allman

Sara Ametrano
Mandy Cheung

Join the conversation! @BenCanMag #DrugTrends

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Calgary Benefits Summit

May 22, 2019
Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Calgary

**Please note that this agenda is a draft and may be subject to change

7:30 – 8:25 a.m.
Breakfast and registration

8:25 - 8:30 a.m.
Opening remarks

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Session one
A journey to becoming Canada’s first Blue Zone

The community of Airdrie is serious about their health and wellness. They want to live longer, be healthier and become Canada’s healthiest community and first Blue Zone. Learn how to get your organization Blue Zone ready — improve people’s lives and enhance the places where they live, work and play.

Mark Seland, chief executive officer, Abrio Health

(This session has been made possible by Alberta Blue Cross.)

[Download Mark's Presentation.]

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Session two
Take action on obesity
Obesity is recognized by leading health organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association and the World Health Organization, as a chronic medical disease. However, despite this, it is not often treated as such. This session will provide a review of the complex nature of obesity, and an overview of the “Awareness, Care, and Treatment in Obesity Management” (ACTION) study – the first national Canadian study investigating perceptions, attitudes and barriers to obesity management in persons with obesity (PwO), healthcare providers (HCPs) and employers – and discuss initial steps employers can take to help support their employees living with obesity.

Dr. Shahebina Walji, medical director, Calgary Weight Management Centre

(This session has been made possible by Novo Nordisk.)

[Download Dr. Walji's Presentation.]

9:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Session three
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – What is it, why is it so popular, and what is with this e-therapy stuff?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the subject of many recent articles relating to benefit plan design and disability management. In addition, a variety of digital therapy products are emerging in the marketplace. The problem is that few people outside of the world of psychology and psychotherapy actually know what CBT is, let alone understand the digital versions of CBT. Learn how CBT works, how it is different than counselling, and about other evidence-based psychotherapies. This session will be of interest to anyone who is considering adding a digital product to a benefit plan, or who already has a digital product.

Peter Gove, innovation leader, health management, Green Shield Canada

[Download Peter's Presentation.]

10:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Session four
Private drug coverage, costs and cost drivers
Joe Farago will share insights into Canada’s drug coverage system with a lens on the private market. The session will provide recent comparisons on how Canada compares to the global market, a view on important new policies and provide results from new research taking a closer look at what is driving growth in Canada’s private drug plans and where it is heading. This session will provide new insight into the factors that have contributed to growth in the private drug plans and those moving forward.

Joe Farago, executive director, healthcare innovation, Innovative Medicines Canada

[Presentation not available for download.]

10:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Networking break

11:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Session five
Towards the tipping point: Balancing the cost of employee wellness in the era of biologics
From atopic dermatitis, to migraine prevention, to psoriatic arthritis – novel biologic-based therapies are redefining the way we manage complex conditions. They are also responsible for a rapidly growing proportion of drug reimbursement costs. With a slew of innovator molecules and biosimilars entering the Canadian market, coupled with evolving plan member expectations, plan sponsors and providers need to keep employees healthy while shifting towards a value-based reimbursement model. By mapping out the patient journey through the lens of a frontline healthcare provider, this session will explore key emerging considerations for plan sponsors investing in innovative therapies.

Aaron Sihota, primary care pharmacist and clinical instructor, University of British Columbia's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

(This session has been made possible by Amgen.)

[Download Aaron's Presentation.]

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Session six
The value of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) in the workplace
Real time Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is an advanced glucose monitoring technology that enables people with diabetes to immediately treat or prevent extreme highs (hyperglycemia) and lows (hypoglycemia) that negatively impact their health, quality of life and workplace performance. This session will discuss the value of CGM to plan members and plan sponsors.

Suzanne Lepage, private health plan strategist

(This session has been made possible by Dexcom.)

[Download Suzanne's Presentation.]

12:00 - 12:30 p.m.
Session seven
The Biologics Savings Partnerships™ and achieving patient stability
Naushad Budhwani, a private insurance manager within the government affairs and market access team at Janssen Inc., will present the company’s Biologics Savings Partnerships™. Mina Mawani, the president and chief executive officer at Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, will then follow up by sharing the perspective of the treatment journey of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This overview will include the challenges in achieving remission, the organization's position on biosimilars and will discuss the patient implications of non-medical switch policy.

Naushad Budhwani, private insurance manager, government affairs and market access, Janssen Inc.
Mina Mawani, president and chief executive officer, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

[Download Naushad's and Mina's Presentation.]

12:30 -12:35 p.m.
Closing remarks

CDT Speakers



Sarah Lussier Hoskyn

Sarah Lussier Hoskyn

Sarah Lussier Hoskyn is a senior analyst of regulatory affairs and market access for Innovative Medicines Canada. She is passionate about sound economic analysis to support policy development in the area of healthcare. She came to Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC) in 2015 to support the organization and its members with economic analysis and research. Lussier Hoskyn has produced research for external stakeholders on regulatory performance, public reimbursement timelines, private market forecasts and cost drivers, international pricing comparisons and the drug insurance coverage landscape. She has also carried out internal analyses, such as cost-modeling and access disparities to support internal policy positions. Lussier Hoskyn is adept at educating her internal stakeholders on relevant industry trends. Prior to joining IMC, she spent nine years at IQVIA (previously IMS Health/IMS Brogan/Brogan Inc.) doing health economics and pricing strategy consulting. Lussier Hoskyn has deep knowledge of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board policy and regulatory framework and gained experience in interpreting clinical data and writing scientific submissions. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a master’s degree in economics and obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from McGill University. Prior to that, she lived and studied Mandarin in Guangzhou, China, for two years.


Melissa Hozack

Melissa Hozack

Melissa Hozack has owned Redcliff Pharmasave since 2007 with her husband, Rob. She grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and is a 2001 University of Alberta pharmacy graduate. Hozack has won numerous awards over the past five years for her work in healthcare -- not sick care -- including the Canadian Commitment to Care and Service Award in Healthy Promotion as well as the University of Alberta faculty of pharmacy alumni award. As a pharmacist, she provides exceptional patient service, weekly consultations and medication management. Hozack has obtained her Additional Prescribing Authorization to help facilitate the deprescribing of medications. Most of her patients start to see the reversal of many conditions as they get on the path to wellness, so these can go quite quickly with therapeutic nutrition. Besides her work as a pharmacist, Hozack is a mother of three children, all of which she homeschools and coaches in soccer. She is very involved in the community, and for the past two years, sat on the Medicine Hat Women in Business Committee. Hozack is dedicated to getting people healthy and now has clients all over the world, not just in Medicine Hat and Redcliff.


Dr. Neil Shear

Dr. Neil Shear

Dr. Neil Shear graduated with a degree in engineering science from the University of Toronto and earned his medical degree at McMaster University in Hamilton. Dr. Shear completed training in both internal medicine and dermatology recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American boards. He also completed a fellowship in clinical pharmacology, supported by the Medical Research Council of Canada, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Shear joined the staff of Sunnybrook Hospital in 1984 and is now the head of dermatology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and is a professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Toronto Medical School. Dr. Shear founded the Drug Safety Clinic at Sunnybrook in 1985 and was the founding chair of the Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Advisory Committee (CADRAC) of Health Canada.  He is the editor of Litt’s Drug Eruption and Reference Manual. Dr. Shear has conducted numerous clinical trials in dermatology, from first in human early pharmacology studies to large randomized trials of novel therapeutics. Dr. Shear's main interest is in idiosyncratic drug reactions that involve the skin. He has published over 300 peer reviewed papers and numerous chapters and abstracts. His clinical interests are diverse, from rosacea and camouflage makeup to autoimmune blistering diseases. Dr. Shear is president of the Canadian Dermatology Association.  He was a past-president of the Canadian Society for Clinical Pharmacology and a recipient of the society's Distinguished Service Award. He is president of the Canadian Dermatology Foundation, and Secretary of the Canadian Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation. He was the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and has served on the editorial boards of the Archives of Dermatology, Drug Safety, the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery and Journal Watch Dermatology. In 2016, Dr. Shear was awarded a “Life Membership” from the Ontario Medical Association in recognition of his contributions to the association and medical care and knowledge; and in 2017, was practitioner-of-the-year for the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance, and in 2018 Practitioner-of-the-year from the Canadian Dermatology Association.


Robyn Widenmaier

Robyn Widenmaier

Robyn Widenmaier is a scientific advisor and acts as the medical affairs lead for GSK's candidate herpes zoster vaccine, Shingrix, in Canada. She joined GSK in 2005 following her graduate studies in biotechnology at the University of Toronto.Widenmaier has held a number of key positions within drug safety, clinical development and most recently, medical affairs teams at GSK. As the Canadian scientific lead for this vaccine, she draws considerable experience from her previous tenure in clinical development, where she played an integral role in the third phase of clinical development efforts of Shingrix. Widenmaier is currently responsible for medical affairs activities for Shingrix in Canada, and works in partnership with external experts, national and regional regulatory and decision-making bodies, to inform evidence-based decisions on herpes zoster prevention. She has a long-standing interest in this disease state and brings great passion and drive towards the prevention of herpes zoster in Canada




Krystal Wynnyk

Krystal Wynnyk

Krystal Wynnyk is a drug benefits manager at Alberta Blue Cross. She holds a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of Alberta, and her extensive pharmacy background includes clinical practice in community, hospital, ambulatory and continuing care, pharmacy management in continuing care and most recently, mental health and addictions. Wynnyk was one of the first 50 pharmacists in Alberta to obtain additional prescribing authorization, and she has served two terms as a councilor for the Alberta College of Pharmacists. In her current role, she is an expert resource on the development of drug benefit management strategies and products, as well as analyzing drug utilization reports and delivering drug plan reviews to Alberta Blue Cross’s large group accounts. She also provides leadership by advising and supporting stakeholders in the development of drug plan management products.



Jonathan Zaid

Jonathan Zaid

Jonathan Zaid is the director of advocacy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Aurora Cannabis Inc., one of the world's largest and most progressive legal cannabis companies. His responsibilities include overseeing the development and implementation of Aurora's global CSR and advocacy initiatives. Zaid also sits on the C3 industry association's medical cannabis committee.

Since 2014 - when Zaid founded Canada's foremost non-profit cannabis patient advocacy organization - Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), he has been recognized as a leading expert on cannabis policy, education and advocacy. Zaid served as CFAMM's executive director from 2014 to 2018.

Zaid's unwavering commitment to advocacy has already, and continues to, transform policy among governments, insurers and industry, and is regularly featured in major media outlets. He has been honoured by multiple awards, including being named one of five "Mavericks and Movers" by the Financial Post.



More information to be posted shortly.

For information on the speakers, please contact Sara Ametrano, Conference Editor, Benefits Canada

Event Details

Fairmont Palliser Hotel
133 9th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta

Fairmont Palliser Hotel
Calgary's premiere hotel, the Fairmont Palliser, is admired for its stunning architecture and impressive history. Centrally located, this landmark is near the city's financial and business district, and is just a short walk away from Calgary's lively shopping scene and arts, entertainment and culture venues. The hotel offers distinctive accommodation, and guests have reffered to it as both magestic and classic. Since opening on June 1, 1914, the Fairmont Palliser delivers outstanding hospitality, and it is the top choice to celebrate special occasions and to stay during business and leisure trips. With comfortable, luxurious accomodations and a prime location, the Fairmont Palliser Hotel is where you want to be.

Fairmont Palliser Hotel

Getting there:

By bus:
  • The Greyhound Bus Depot is on the same street as the hotel. To get from the station to the Farimont Palliser, it is about a five-minute taxi ride away.

  • By car:

    From YYC Calgary International Airport:
    • Take Barlow Trail North
    • Left on Airport Trail
    • Deerfoot Trail South
    • Right on 16th Avenue
    • Left at Centre Street
    • Right on 6th Avenue
    • Left on 3rd Street SW
    • Left on 9th Avenue

    From the North (Edmonton):
    • Take HWY-2 South Towards Calgary
    • Take Memorial Dr exit, EXIT 256
    • Merge onto Memorial Dr West
    • Take the ramp toward 4 Ave S
    • Turn slight left onto 4 Avenue Flyover
    • Left onto 1 St SE
    • Right onto 10 Ave SE
    • Take the 1st right onto 1 St SW
    • Take the 1st right onto 9 Ave SW

    From the East or West (Kananaskis):
    • Take TransCanada Hwy 1 East to 16th Avenue
    • Turn on Centre Street (Southbound)
    • Turn right onto 6 Ave SW
    • Turn left onto 3 St SW
    • Turn left onto 9 Ave SW
    • The Fairmont Palliser is just past 1 Street SW

    From the South:
    • Take Hwy 2 North, Macleod Trail Northbound
    • Turn left on 10th Avenue
    • Right on 1st Street SW
    • Right on 9th Avenue


    Valet Parking:

    Please park your vehicle in front of the hotel's main entrance on 9th Avenue. Rates extended to patrons who enjoy hotel dining outlets or facilities only.

    Overnight* includes in and out access
    • Sunday - Thursday, $40
    • Friday - Saturday, $25

    • Monday - Friday, up to 4 hours $20, more than 4 hours, $40 (full-day rate applies)*
    • Saturday - Sunday, up to 4 hours $10, more than 4 hours, $15*

    Prices include GST. *Rates are subject to change.

    Self -Parking:

    Impark lot with access off of 10th Avenue West or East or off of 9th Avenue (east of hotel). Take elevators to third floor and walk west to hotel mezzanine entrance. Please note that the hotel does not own or manage the Impark lot and prices are subject to change without notice.

    Hourly rate - $8
    Early Bird - (Tuesday – Thursday, enter before 9 a.m., valid until 6 p.m.) $20
    All Day - (Tuesday-Thursday, valid until 6 p.m.) $27
    All-Day Special - (Monday and Friday, valid until 6 p.m.) $18
    Evenings - (from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. next day) $6
    Weekends - (Saturday to Sunday and holidays, 6 a.m. to 6 a.m.) $6


    Francesca Allman

    Sara Ametrano
    Anya Baker