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Specialty drugs can significantly improve (or even save) an employee’s life, but can come at a high cost. Over the past few decades, many employers dove headfirst into drug-pooling arrangements as a key way to deal with those costs, while also ensuring employees get the access needed to an array of medications. But with dozens […]

Economic statement includes new rules for employee stock options

In Monday’s fall economic statement, the federal government proposed changes to employee stock option rules and offered additional support for essential workers. The statement provided an overview of the government’s approach to combating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while offering details on additional measures moving forward. The changes to employee stock option tax rules include an annual […]

  • By: Staff
  • December 1, 2020 December 1, 2020
  • 10:30

With employers and employees still suffering through the limbo of the coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday’s throne speech clarified how the federal government plans to continue to support Canadians. In her speech, Governor General Julie Payette said the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be extended into 2021. She also said the government intends to shift away from emergency benefits […]

Benefits plan members, sponsors cite low levels of knowledge on pharmacare: survey

While 67 per cent of Canadian plan members described their level of knowledge about a possible national pharmacare program as low or medium, 27 per cent said they don’t know anything at all about it, according to the 2020 Sanofi Canada health-care survey. Among plan sponsor respondents, 73 per cent described their level of knowledge […]

  • By: Staff
  • June 30, 2020 November 11, 2020
  • 09:15
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 […]

Capping drug coverage for rare diseases poses an ethical dilemma

While high-cost specialty medications represent about 30 per cent of drug costs, the total budget impact of rare disease drugs is less than two per cent, said Brad McCaw, associate director of market access at Alexion Pharmaceuticals Canada. Within the high-cost specialty market’s top 20 drugs, only one is designated for rare disease, he said […]

Alberta launches panel to examine involvement in CPP, national pharmacare

Over the weekend, the Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the provincial government intends to examine the ramifications of disentangling Alberta from multiple federal cost-sharing programs. At a conference in Red Deer, Alta. on Saturday, he announced the formation of a panel that will consult on subjects such as whether the province should start its own pension system and […]

  • By: Staff
  • November 12, 2019 November 30, 2020
  • 09:30
Liberals’ election win implications for pharmacare, pension legislation

The Liberal Party of Canada is set to form a minority government after Tuesday’s federal election when it won 157 out of 338 seats. While the party made few health-care and pension promises in its election platform, the win puts a spotlight on the Liberals’ 2019 budget promises. Most notably, following the release of the final expert panel’s […]

  • By: Staff
  • October 22, 2019 November 30, 2020
  • 10:30
Editorial: Looking back — and ahead — in an unprecedented year

It’s an election year and, of course, I have a lot of opinions. But I’ll try to keep my political leanings as neutral as possible and simply lay out the facts. This issue will hit desks days before the federal election. However, as I write these words in mid-September, the main parties are just rolling […]

Liberals pledging to boost investments in mental health, pharmacare

The Liberal Party of Canada is promising a number of health-care reforms in its election platform, including a national pharmacare program and improved access to mental-health services. According to a backgrounder document, the Liberals are aiming to “strengthen the Canada Health Act to make sure the full range of mental-health services required by Canadians are available in every […]

  • By: Staff
  • September 24, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 09:30