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With Canadian biologic drug sales growing at a rate of 13 per cent annually over the last 10 years, plan sponsors are looking for ways to manage the related costs — and the introduction of biosimilars may help. At a recent Pfizer-sponsored webinar hosted by Benefits Canada, “Evidence to Policy — Biosimilar Transitioning in Canada,” two […]

Biosimilars, pharmacogenetics helping to shape the future of pharmacy benefits management

Plan sponsors with growing concerns about benefits plan sustainability should focus on a few strategic pharmacy benefits plan issues, said Mark Rolnick, executive vice-president of pharmacy innovation and patient experience at Green Shield Canada, during a session at Benefits Canada’s Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum on Dec. 9, 2020. He recommended that plans […]

How plan sponsors can contain rising drug costs in 2021

With drug costs for plan sponsors steadily rising in recent years, keeping budgets down is top of mind as they plan for 2021. “The biggest concern for plan sponsors is sustainability,” said Shawn O’Brien, principal of data enablement and drug, health, dental product roadmap for Telus Health, in a press release. “They have to find a […]

  • By: Staff
  • December 18, 2020 December 18, 2020
  • 09:03
A legislative update on provincial biosimilar policies

When the City of Toronto switched benefits plan insurers in 2017, it changed its coverage for biologics and biosimilars. Under its previous plan, the City reimbursed employees for the drugs their doctors recommended and prescribed; now, it follows its new insurer’s mandatory biosimilars policy, while grandfathering any plan member who was already taking a biologic […]

How are insurers using block-level contract amendments to control drug costs?

An upcoming Sun Life Canada drug plan change that will be implemented outside of plan sponsors’ renewal periods is calling attention to the practice of block-level contract amendments. Sun Life is set to implement the first phase of its reference drug program on Oct. 1, which the insurer says will help plan sponsors with drug plan sustainability by creating categories […]

Mental-health conditions, specialty meds driving drug plan cost increases in 2019: report

Private drug plans saw the largest yearly increase in their average eligible costs in 2019, according to Telus Health’s annual drug trends report. The report attributed the rise to a jump in the use and cost of specialty drugs and a growth in younger Canadians using medication for mental-health challenges. It also noted the repeal of the OHIP+ program […]

  • By: Staff
  • July 9, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 10:00
Specialty drug usage, traditional drug costs drive small rise in 2019 spending: report

Private drug plans saw a slight uptick in costs in 2019 due to the increased use of specialty drugs and higher price points for traditional medications, according to Express Scripts Canada’s annual drug trends report. The report found private drug plan spending per claimant increased one per cent over 2018’s figures. Plans’ annual spend per claimant on […]

  • By: Staff
  • April 14, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 10:00
2020 Drug Plan Trends Report: Developments, data and design

Taking a look at private drug plans in 2020, a number of trends are converging: spending on specialty drugs is continuing its upward trajectory, advancements in a number of lifechanging therapies are in the pipeline and policy developments are coming at both the federal and provincial levels. In the face of this potential storm, plan […]

Proposed changes to Ontario drug rules target generics pricing, biosimilar listing process

Ontario has proposed amendments to provincial drug regulations that aim to change the pricing model for generic drugs and simplify the process for the province’s drug formulary to list biosimilars. Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care said the changes are aimed at reducing the “administrative burden” for drug manufacturers and pharmacies. With regards to […]

  • By: Staff
  • November 14, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 09:00
Switch from biologic to biosimilar drug requires monitoring, patient-informed discussion

When it comes to switching from a biologic to a biosimilar drug, patient choice and engagement is extremely important, according to Durhane Wong-Rieger, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders.  “While a patient’s on a drug, they need to be continuously monitoring,” she said during a session at Benefits Canada’s 2019 Calgary Drug […]