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Canadians’ health priorities are shifting as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, as claims for medications to treat mental-health conditions continued to rise in 2020, along with claims for specialty drugs designed to treat rarer, yet increasingly chronic diseases, according to Telus Health’s annual drug trends report. There were noticeable shifts in the utilization of mental-health […]

The growing use of specialty medications among plan members continued to drive the increase in plan sponsors’ drug plan costs last year, well eclipsing the increase in traditional drug spending, according to Telus Health. Canadian plan sponsors’ drug spending on insured plan members between the ages of 25 and 64 increased 3.6 per cent in […]

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The New Brunswick government is expanding the use of biosimilars for certain chronic conditions in its public drug plans. Approximately 3,000 beneficiaries of the province’s drug plans who are living with diseases such as inflammatory arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and psoriasis will have until Nov. 30 to switch from a biologic to the biosimilar […]

  • By: Staff
  • April 23, 2021 April 26, 2021
  • 15:00

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 April 23, 2021
  • 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