There’s an almost even split among plan sponsors on whether to cover medical marijuana in their health benefits plans, according to the 2018 Sanofi Canada health-care survey.

Those for and against coverage were split evenly, with 34 per cent each, while the remaining 32 per cent said they didn’t know or were unsure. Among plan sponsors that said their health benefits plan should cover medical marijuana, eight per cent said it already does so. That number increases in the public sector (18 per cent) and among employers with more than 500 workers (13 per cent).

“This is the first time cannabis was put to the survey, so it will be interesting to see how this evolves over time,” said Shoppers Drug Mart Inc.’s Mark Rolnick at the launch event for the survey in Toronto on Wednesday. 

Read: Sounding Board: How to deal with medical marijuana in the workplace

On the plan member side, the survey found that that 64 per cent of respondents believe their plan should cover medical marijuana. Another 25 per cent think it shouldn’t and 11 said they didn’t know. Plan members between the ages of 18 and 34 and those who experience high levels of stress were more likely to agree their health benefits plan should cover the drug, at 72 and 70 per cent, respectively.

“For some specific disease areas, clinical evidence is growing on the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis,” said Rolnick, Shoppers Drug Mart’s vice-president of payor partnerships and plan sponsor innovation and one of the survey’s advisory board members.

“It’s important that if and when plan sponsors do offer coverage that they have the right criteria in place, to ensure appropriate product selection. As medication experts, pharmacists are trained to help patients in this respect, helping them to navigate the complexities of product selection, particularly if they are taking multiple medications.”

Read more articles from the 2018 Sanofi Canada health-care survey

Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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