Manulife expands pharmacy choices after backlash

Manulife to allow specialty meds at any pharmacy, responding to customer feedback for flexibility

Manulife expands pharmacy choices after backlash

Manulife Financial Corp. has addressed concerns over pharmacy choice for Canadians supported by their health insurance, specifically those taking specialty medications for serious, chronic, and often life-threatening conditions.

Following a period of public feedback and concern, Manulife has decided to allow patients to fill their prescriptions at any pharmacy they choose, ensuring that home delivery remains an option for those who prefer it, as reported by Newswire Canada.

This decision aims to provide Manulife's members with greater choice, access, and flexibility in managing their health needs.

This change follows a backlash after Manulife entered into an exclusive arrangement with Loblaw Cos. Ltd., which would have seen specialty drug program prescriptions filled primarily through Shoppers Drug Mart and other Loblaw-owned pharmacies.

The controversy underlined the need for more competition and flexibility in the pharmacy sector, with Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne expressing concern over the deal, according to Canadian Press.

Naveed Irshad, president and CEO of Manulife Canada, emphasized the company's commitment to making decisions easier and lives better for Canadians, acknowledging the impact of the feedback received over the past week, as mentioned in Newswire Canada.

He reiterated Manulife's dedication to partnering with thousands of pharmacies across the country to support a robust Canadian healthcare system.

The change affects the Specialty Drug Care program customers, representing less than one percent of Manulife's members but is seen as a significant step towards ensuring that all Canadians under Manulife's support have comprehensive healthcare options.

The specialty drug program, as detailed by Canadian Press, covers approximately 260 medications that treat a range of complex, chronic, or life-threatening conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, cancer, osteoporosis, and hepatitis C.