Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum

December 6, 2022  | Sheraton Centre, Toronto, Ontario

All times listed below are in Eastern Time.
December 6, 2022

8:45 – 9:25 AM:

Registration (Foyer outside the Dominion Ballroom)

9:30 AM:

Opening remarks (Dominion Ballroom)

9:30 – 10:00 AM:

Looking to the future of private drug insurance: Rethinking risk management

Private drug plan claims costs are growing at approximately 4-5% annually, yet many plan sponsors report that their premiums and pooling charges are growing at a significantly higher rate. There is a growing focus on the current insurance model’s ability to manage risk and the need more innovation to ensure plan members have access to new medicines.

This session will review current mechanisms for insuring drug plan risk and the challenges. Additionally, the session will review recent research that proposes some principles for a better insurance model to enhance patient access to innovative treatments to keep them healthy and productive.


Tim Clarke, president, tc Health Consulting Inc.

Suzanne Lepage, private health plan strategist, Suzanne Lepage Consulting

 This session has been made possible by Innovative Medicines Canada.

10:00 – 10:30 AM:

Drug plan management: Striking the right balance between member access and plan sustainability

For most plans, drug spend accounts for the majority of total claim spend. High-cost targeted specialty medications, among others, for the treatment of both rarer and more common health conditions are continuing to drive this trend. Striking the right balance to manage the cost, complexities and coordination of care becomes paramount. This session will review formulary management and approaches to help clients achieve greater therapeutic and financial value for their plans.

Speaker: Marie-Hélène Dugal, manager, pharmacy benefit strategy, Medavie Blue Cross

10:30 – 11:00 AM:

Networking break

11:00 – 11:30 AM:

A holistic approach to ADHD and its impact on drug plans

This session will look at mental-health trends and their impact on drug plans, with a focus on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Anjila Arora will look at data, tools and resources that can help organizations tackle these conditions and support plan members.

Speaker:Anjila Arora, director, pharmaceutical benefits, Sun Life Financial

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM:

The evolving role of pharmacists in drug plan management

The role of pharmacists as key resources in drug plan management is constantly evolving and expanding. As our health-care system continues to face challenges, pharmacists have demonstrated they’re critical assets uniquely positioned to support the delivery of care by optimizing health outcomes for all Canadians. This session will explore the role of pharmacists in managing chronic disease and supporting drug formulary and plan design in pharmacy, as well as the expanded scope of practice, including diagnosis and prescribing.

Speaker: Uchenwa Genus, senior director, drug plan solutions, Shoppers Drug Mart

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM:

Three ways cost management strategies can bend the drug cost curve

Heading into 2023, a growing concern for health benefit plan sponsors continues to be the sustainability of drug plans. With the long-tail effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflationary pressures, the time is ripe to re-evaluate drug cost management strategies. From leveraging foundational plan features to addressing specialty drugs and supporting medication adherence, this session will look at what’s essential when it comes to bending the cost curve so plan sponsors can continue to offer comprehensive health plans that meet their members’ needs.

Speaker: Lavina Viegas, director, pharmacy operations, TELUS Health

12:30 – 1:30 PM:


1:30 – 2:15 PM:

Rapid fire drug innovations panel

Hear about innovative new drugs, the conditions they treat, why additional treatments are needed and how they improve health outcomes and benefit plan members and plan sponsors.


Dr. Matthew Cheng
, assistant professor, McGill University

Dr. Amer Johri
, professor, department of medicine, Queen’s University

Dr. Arash Pakseresht
, Associate medical director, medical affairs, Canada, Novo Nordisk Canada

This session has been made possible by Bristol Myers Squibb, Novo Nordisk Canada and Takeda Canada.

2:15 – 2:45 PM:

The Plan Sponsor's Guide to Rare Diseases live!

When it comes to rare diseases, plan sponsors need to strike the appropriate balance between the urgency to respond to plan members’ healthcare needs with the uncertainty, financial impact, affordability and plan sustainability related to reimbursing drugs for rare diseases.

This session will explore some key elements of the Plan Sponsor's Guide to Rare Diseases, including how rare diseases impact plan members and the workplace, challenges related to development of drugs for rare disease, Canadian accessibility and drug funding challenges and how Canadian rare diseases policies might impact private plans.

Speaker: Suzanne Lepage, private health plan strategist, Suzanne Lepage Consulting Inc.

This session has been made possible by Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

2:45 – 3:15 PM:

Networking break

3:15 – 3:45 PM:

Rethinking vaccine coverage in private plans

The current health landscape is transforming with a greater focus on prevention. Many employers are putting benefit programs in place that encourage healthy habits, however there is still room for reflection on how to modernize plan designs and optimize vaccine coverage. This session will help demonstrate current gaps and challenges but also highlight opportunities to provide better access to vaccines in the workplace.


Chris Bonnett
, founder, principal consultant, H3 Consulting

Dr. Jia Hu, chief executive officer, 19 To Zero

Frédéric Leblanc, strategic leader, drug programs, group benefits and retirement solutions, iA Financial Group

 This session has been made possible by GSK, Merck and Pfizer Canada.

3:45 – 4:15 PM:

From patient to plan sponsor: How health benefits can turn a life around

In this session, Chris MacLeod will share his experience of living with cystic fibrosis and falling dramatically ill which led to a lengthy hospital stay. His treatment and recovery allowed him to expand his law firm and influenced his views on benefit plan design.

As a plan sponsor, he will discuss how health benefits play an important role in supporting plan members’ access to innovative medicines and ensure they come back from serious illnesses stronger than ever.

Speaker: Chris MacLeod, founding partner, Cambridge LLP

 This session has been made possible by Vertex.

4:15 PM:

Closing remarks

*Agenda and timing are subject to change

Please email Megan Lepage