Past Event: Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum

December 03, 2019
Fairmont Royal York, Toronto

2019 Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum

Read coverage from the event

The Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum is the industry’s most popular drug benefits conference. Benefits Canada welcomes you to the 2019 edition, which will feature informative sessions around rare disease; the pharmaceutical industry’s point of view; legal obligations in drug plan management; and a deeper dive into drug programs.

How much does it cost?
Plan sponsor/employer price: $129 plus tax.
Industry provider price: $249 plus tax.

This event will be a full-morning program.

Should I attend?
If you’re an employer responsible for your organization’s drug plan, benefits, wellness, human resources and/or corporate health – or an industry provider such as a broker, benefits consultant, advisor, group insurer and/or another stakeholder such as pharma – then this forum is where you want to be.  

Continuing education (CE) credits will be offered at this event.



Francesca Allman

Cassandra Williamson-Hopp
Katerina Galkina

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Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum

December 3, 2019
Fairmont Royal York, Toronto


As the potential risk of drug plan costs continue to rise, plan designs have become more complex and require increasing expertise to understand the opportunities, obligations, programs and processes involved in managing drug plans.


Please note: this agenda is subject to change.

7:30 – 8:25 AM

8:25 – 8:30 AM

8:30 – 9:30 AM
If it’s rare, why should I care?
Orphan drugs, or drugs for rare diseases, offer life-changing hope, but sometimes at an extraordinary cost. Managing the potential risk for these conditions and treatments can be daunting for plan sponsors. This session will help define rare disease and explain the challenges associated with developing drugs for these conditions. It will also examine risk management and pooling mechanisms that can support plan sponsors and allow them to offer their plan members insurance protection when they need it most.

Dan Berty, executive director, Canadian Drug Insurance Pooling Corporation
Jane Farnham, co-chair, board of directors, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders
Brad McCaw, associate director, market access, Alexion Canada
Kevin Wong, pharmacist consultant, health and benefits, Willis Towers Watson

[Session not available for download.]

9:30 – 10:30 AM 
POV pharma
This session will shed light on how pharmaceutical companies work with insurers; it will demystify the role of the pharmaceutical company market access professional and offer insights on how they work with insurers and the broader private payer industry. Delegates will gain a better understanding of how drugs arrive on the market and become listed on their drug plans, as well as information on the programs and services that pharmaceutical companies can offer.

Joe Farago, executive director, private payers and investment, Innovative Medicines Canada
Sarah Shephard, director, health policy and patient access, Novartis Pharma
Kathy Sotirakos, senior manager, market access private insurance, Amgen

[Session not available for download.]


10:30 – 11:00 AM


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Parsing the programs
Over the last few years, the private drug plan management landscape has evolved. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers have implemented a wide variety of programs and tools to manage plan sponsors’ drug plan costs. Although they may seem similar, they each have unique features. What do plan sponsors need to know? What questions should plan advisors be asking on behalf of their clients? How does an advisor or employer evaluate insurer programs, case management, preferred pharmacy networks, biosimilar programs and more? 

Billy Cheung, executive director, pharmacy, marketing and professional affairs, Pharmasave Ontario
Karen Kesteris, chief product officer, Express Scripts Canada
Ned Pojskic, leader, pharmacy and health provider relations, Green Shield Canada

[Session not available for download.]

12:00 – 12:30 PM
Beyond the contract: Sponsor obligations and potential legal risks in drug plan management
Plan sponsors have long had a fiduciary duty and a standard of care obligation in pension plan governance.  Although there are not yet similar duties and obligations for health benefits plan management, similar tensions and issues arise. What's in the best interest of a sponsor’s employees? How sustainable will all-encompassing drug benefits coverage be? These, and other issues, will be explored in this session examining plan sponsor obligations in health benefits plan management and potential legal risks.

Mitch Frazer, partner and chair of the pensions and employment practice, Torys LLP

[Download Mitch's Presentation.]


12:30 – 12:35 PM

Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum - Speakers

Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum

December 3, 2019



Dan Berty

Dan Berty

Since 2015, Dan Berty has been the Canadian Drug Insurance Pooling Corporation's executive director. In this role, he's responsible for the administration of the corporation’s high-cost drug-pooling mechanisms. During his 25 years in the industry, Berty has provided executive leadership on a variety of transformational and industry-wide initiatives including electronic claims, operations virtualization, offshoring, use of data analytics in fraud management and risk analysis. Beyond his work for the CDIPC, the consultancy he leads also provides expert advice on group health and dental insurance to technology companies, insurers, foreign investors and medical provider associations.


Billy Cheung

Brad McCaw

Billy Cheung is executive director, pharmacy, marketing and professional affairs at Pharmasave Ontario. A seasoned pharmacist who’s focused on the latest advances in patient-centred health care, interactive digital solutions and medication advice, he’s a senior leader for more than 350 Pharmasave drugstores across Ontario. Cheung’s also a former chairman of the board for the Ontario Pharmacists Association, a regular pharmacist voice on Zoomer Radio from 2013 to 2018 and was recently elected to the position of vice-president for the council of the Ontario College of Pharmacists. Outside of his pharmacy life, Cheung spends time with his family, runs marathons and rides his bicycle to faraway places for charitable causes.


Joe Farago

Brad McCaw

Joe Farago is the executive director of private payers and investment at Innovative Medicines Canada. He joined the organization in January 2016 -- and in this role, he's responsible for the private payer market and national innovation strategy. Farago's leading the pharmaceutical sector's efforts in taking a more proactive, research-based approach to addressing today’s issues, ensuring tomorrow’s workforces in Canada have strong private market coverage that's best suited to meeting their needs. Ensuring employees are healthy and productive at work is a fundamental value of healthy private drug benefits. Over the last 27 years, Farago has acquired a vast knowledge of the Canadian pharmaceutical and specialty biopharmaceutical markets. He has a wide range of experience in market access, government affairs, sales, marketing and operations. Farago's had the opportunity to be part of establishing two organizations in the Canadian market from the ground up and brings a strong understanding of market access success and organizational development. He started his pharmaceutical career with Servier Canada in 1989 and then entered the plasma protein specialty market with CSL Limited in 2007, where he was instrumental in establishing and building the Canadian organization to a market leader. Farago attended Carleton University, graduating with a bachelor of science degree, and he currently lives in Manotick, Ontario with his wife and their three children.


Jane Farnham

Brad McCaw

Jane Farnham is a seasoned health-care executive with extensive experience in private and public sector health-care environments and a proven track record in business strategy, advocacy, stakeholder relations, health policy and communications. Farnham currently holds the position of vice-president, strategic partnerships, external relations and advocacy with BioScript Solutions, an integrated provider of patient-centred health solutions for Canadians with complex medical conditions. As the mother of a child with a rare disorder, Farnham’s a passionate advocate for the patient voice in health policy. She previously served as board chair for both the Ontario and Canadian Pharmacists Associations and has held numerous other elected and appointed board positions.


Mitch Frazer

Brad McCaw

Mitch Frazer is a partner and the chair of the pensions and employment practice at Torys LLP. His practice focuses on all aspects of pension, benefits and employment law. He’s the founder of the National Institute on Ageing at Ryerson University, a former adjunct professor at both the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Osgoode Hall Law School and a published author. Frazer is also chair of Ryerson University’s Board of Governors, chair of the TFS Foundation Board of Directors, chair of the North York General Foundation Board of Governors and a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Science Centre. He was the recipient of Wilfrid Laurier University’s MBA Outstanding Executive Leadership Award, Western University Law School’s Ivan Rand Alumni Award, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Ted Rogers School of Management Honorary Alumni Award, the Ontario Bar Association’s Award of Excellence in Pension and Benefits Law and was named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer magazine.


Karen Kesteris

Brad McCaw

As chief product officer at Express Scripts Canada, Karen Kesteris leads both the product development team and the data analytics group. Kesteris masterfully pulls these two areas together in order to build great products that create sustainable value for ESC, its clients and patients. She brings 20+ years of product development, marketing and leadership experience to the role, along with a strong specialization in health care, pharmacy benefit management and insurance. Kesteris’ most recent experience prior to Express Scripts Canada came at Medavie Blue Cross, where she served as director, drug product and provider management. In this role, Kesteris oversaw the full product life cycle and was responsible for driving innovation and strategy for both group and individual insurance products. In her past roles, Karen was director of private payer solutions at Telus Health and director of marketing communications and product development at Green Shield Canada. She holds a BA in public administration from the University of Guelph.

Brad McCaw

Brad McCaw

Brad McCaw has over 25 years of experience with global specialty pharmaceutical manufacturers and an expertise in insurance market access – both public and private. Over the past three years, McCaw has been the associate director of market access and is part of the executive management team at Alexion Canada, a global rare disease drug manufacturer. McCaw has successfully created innovative partnerships with insurance companies, hospital-buying groups and national and provincial industry partners – specifically focused on access for patients with devastating illnesses caused by rare disease.



Ned Pojskic

Brad McCaw

Ned Pojskic is Green Shield Canada’s leader for pharmacy and health provider relations. In this role, he’s responsible for setting GSC’s strategic direction with respect to provider and drug benefits management. He takes the lead in managing stakeholder relations with all health-care providers, including pharmacy, dental and paramedical. Pojskic's also responsible for overall drug formulary management, including pricing and policy as well as pharmaceutical industry partnerships. With an industry background that includes a role as director of health policy for the Ontario Pharmacists Association, Pojskic's a key member of GSC’s strategic market solutions team. Pojskic holds masters and PhD degrees from the department of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Toronto and is currently appointed as an adjunct professor within the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

Sarah Shephard

Brad McCaw

In her role at Novartis Pharma Canada, Sarah Shephard is a leader in the health policy and patient access team. This team works with governments, insurers and patient groups to monitor and interpret policy to ensure patients have timely and appropriate access to the innovative medicines from Novartis.





Kathy Sotirakos

Brad McCaw

Kathy Sotirakos joined Amgen in 2007 and was previously responsible for supporting the value and access department as the manager of patient access. She’s currently responsible for overseeing Amgen’s private payer customer segment. This includes development of market initiatives that build awareness, educate and provide innovative approaches on the value of Amgen’s products to private insurance customers. Sotirakos is vice-chair of Innovative Medicines Canada’s private payer core team and previously served as chair of Rx&D private payer subcommittee. Sotirakos also acts as co-chair of Group Insurance Pharmaceutical Committee. She holds a math for commerce degree from York University along with a bachelor of applied science degree in nutrition from Ryerson University. Her diverse background in both business and science allows Sotirakos to use her varied experience in customer service, operations, program management and nutrition to further support Amgen’s market access department. Prior to joining Amgen, Sotirakos was the director of operations for Adjuvantz as well as the manager of operations from 2000-2007. Adjuvantz supports Amgen’s patients in achieving the greatest possible therapeutic outcome through reimbursement counseling, financial assistance, education, information and medical case management. Sotirakos lives in the Niagara region with her husband and son.

Kevin Wong

Steve Sproule

Kevin Wong is a pharmacist consultant in the health and benefits practice at Willis Towers Watson. As an experienced professional within the pharmaceutical industry, his primary role is to assist clients seeking drug plan management and advisory services. Prior to joining Willis Towers Watson, Wong served in leadership roles within government, pharmacy benefits management and retail pharmacy. He completed his MBA from both the Kellogg School of Management and the Schulich School of Business. Wong received his bachelor of pharmacy from the University of Toronto and continues to practice as a licensed pharmacist in the province of Ontario.


Event Location

The Face to Face Drug Management Forum will take place at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in the Canadian Room, set in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Visit the Fairmont Royal York website for more information


Fairmont Royal York Hotel (Canadian Room)

100 Front St W, Toronto
ON M5J 1E3
(416) 368-2511



With further inquiries about event logistics, please contact Cassandra Williamson-Hopp, Conference Editor.