Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum

Dec. 5, 2023 | Arcadian Court, Toronto, Ontario

December 5, 2023

7:45 – 8:45 AM:


8:45 – 9:00 AM:

Opening remarks

9:00 – 9:30 AM:

Private drug claims’ cost drivers and volatility risks

This session will take a deeper look into the cost drivers and volatility analysis of private drug claims that were reported as part of the 2023 cost drivers analysis of private drug plans in Canada. The session will also challenge current risk-sharing models and consider implementation options to positively impact the sustainability of Canada’s private drug coverage model.


Joe Farago, executive director, private payers and investment, Innovative Medicines Canada

9:30 – 10:30 AM:

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.


Jacob Bonafiglia, medical science liaison, Novo Nordisk

Dr. Shereen Ezzat, professor of medicine and oncology, past head, endocrine oncology site group, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network

Melissa Kim, medical advisor, medical lead, Boehringer-Ingelheim

10:30 – 11:00 AM:

Networking break

11:00 – 11:30 AM:

The evolution of pharmacy and the specialty paradigm shift: Patient-centric and accessible

The pharmacy of today continues to evolve with pharmacists playing an expanded role in the delivery of health care in Canada. The specialty drug landscape is also evolving with an expanding pipeline of drugs for the treatment of common chronic conditions like diabetes. This session will explore the changing pharmacy, specialty and chronic disease landscapes, highlighting pharmacy-led drug plan solutions that are patient-centric, accessible and sustainable.


Jennifer Poh, senior director, drug plan solutions, Health Solutions by Shoppers

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM:

Disease and drug trends: A spotlight on asthma

This session will share analysis of current disease and drug trends with a focus on asthma, one of the most common chronic diseases in Canada. It will highlight drug plan design features for plan sponsors to consider for this patient population, such as mandatory generic substitution, prior authorization and vaccine coverage. It will also demonstrate how data can help plan sponsors understand drug trends and utilization and the correlations between chronic disease drug categories and disability.


Anjila Arora, director, pharmaceutical benefits, Sun Life Financial

12:00 – 1:00 PM:


1:00 – 1:30 PM:

Chronic disease and drug plan management at work: A comprehensive approach to diabetes and beyond

Addressing chronic diseases in the workplace is a pressing concern, impacting both employees and benefits plan expenses. This session will delve into effective strategies to optimize drug benefit spending while creating better health outcomes. With a specific focus on diabetes and other prevalent conditions like obesity, this session will examine data beyond the surface and explore actionable plan management considerations, including mitigating risks.


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

1:30 – 2:00 PM:

What is cardiodiabesity?

Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are illnesses that affect many Canadians. The combined prevalence and drug costs associated with these conditions are a significant cost driver for drug plans. It also isn’t uncommon to see all three diseases in one patient. This triple diagnosis, called cardiodiabesity, contributes to the complexity of treatment and cost of care.


Joyce Wong, director, clinical services, Express Scripts Canada

2:00 – 2:30 PM:

Networking break

2:30 – 3:15 PM:

Biosimilars in Canada: The importance of moving from why to how

Despite the potential value of biosimilars, their uptake in the private payer market is only now gaining significant momentum. This session will move beyond why biosimilars should form a key element of private drug plans to practical strategies of how plan sponsors can work with their partners to maximize the opportunity.


Neda Nasseri, pharmacist, private payer, product director, Desjardins Insurance

Ross Wallace, secretary, Canadian Biosimilars Forum

3:15 – 3:45 PM:

Patient perspective: The high cost of not recognizing value

Novel and highly effective drugs and related treatments across all disease areas have great potential to improve health outcomes in previously unmet medical needs. This allows plan members and dependants to maintain and regain health and be productive contributors. However, a range of cost management measures — including process delays, inappropriate health technology assessments and narrow and restrictive criteria — delay or block access and threaten the ability of plan sponsors and members to benefit from advances. Extended delays can result in disease progression, irreversible damage and even death. This session will explore how progressive approaches that balance plan sustainability and comprehensive access are needed.


John Adams, chair, board of directors, Best Medicines Coalition