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The first strike at Vale Canada in more than a decade is drawing to a close after unionized workers at the Sudbury, Ont., mine ratified a collective agreement that includes improved pension and health benefits. Through the agreement — which expires May 31, 2026 — the monthly pre-age 65 defined benefit pension will increase by $50 to […]

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 […]

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
Brand discount cards increase costs to private insurers by 46%: study

As the popularity of brand discount cards grows among Canadians, how much are people actually saving? And what’s the cost to insurers? In a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers waded through 2.82 million prescriptions for 89 different medications for which patients used brand discount cards. It found patients saved seven per cent, or $3.49 […]

  • By: Staff
  • November 18, 2019 November 11, 2020
  • 10:31
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
The value of private drug plans from a Canadian and global context

When it comes to health-care spending in Canada, there isn’t a lot of variance between provinces, according to Joe Farago, executive director of private payers and investment at Innovative Medicines Canada. In a session at Benefits Canada’s 2019 Halifax Benefits Summit on Sept. 24, he said prescription drugs’ percentage of the total health-care budget has been fairly consistent, at 15 […]

Prescription drug costs for Canadian public plans hit $11.4 billion in 2017/18: report

Prescription drug costs for public drug plans covering most of Canada increased 7.4 per cent in 2017/18 to reach $11.4 billion, according to a new report by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. It’s a significant increase compared to the more modest 1.9 per cent growth in prescription drug costs from 2016/17. The board looked at data […]

  • By: Staff
  • September 12, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 09:00
Plan sponsors using generic substitution, co-payments to curb drug plan costs: report

Plan sponsors are increasingly adopting plan design tools to manage their drug plan costs, according to Telus Health’s annual drug trends report. It found private plan drug costs have grown 0.3 per cent per year on average for the past 10 years, made up of an average 2.1 per cent annual decrease in the cost […]

Industry responds to expert panel’s pharmacare report

Industry groups had mixed feelings about an expert panel’s report calling for a single-payer pharmacare plan. Released on Wednesday by Eric Hoskins, former Ontario health minister, the report recommended Canada and the provinces work together to create a unified program that addresses the country’s patchwork of prescription drug plans. Provinces and territories, the panel said, […]

  • By: Staff
  • June 14, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 09:25