Pharmacy chain launches cost-reducing group plan solution

The new plan offers better management through real-time employee support

Pharmacy chain launches cost-reducing group plan solution
Store giant Loblaw has announced a new cost-reducing drug plan for Canadian employers, which is provided by its Shoppers Mart division. The new plan, HealthWATCH for Business, is estimated to help employers and their workers save 5-10% on their drug plan.

“We understand that employers are facing unprecedented financial pressures due to increasingly complex conditions and more costly therapies,” said Mark Rolnick, vice president for payer partnerships & plan sponsor innovation. He explained that the new plan is formulated to help reduce employer spending on traditional therapies, letting drug plans shift more attention to specialty medications.

Chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mental health issues are driving up benefit costs, with the Conference Board of Canada estimating average costs of providing employee benefits at $8,330 per full-time employee annually. Employee drug plans typically account for a hefty chunk of that spending.

Furthermore, traditional, non-specialty medications frequently used for chronic conditions make up more than 70% of an employer’s drug spending coverage and 98% of drug claims. However, employers looking for solutions to better manage their drug spend have recently been overlooking these traditional medications.

Under the HealthWATCH for Business drug plan, employees can get better real-time, pharmacy-counter support from pharmacy teams in more than 1,800 pharmacies in Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart store networks. They can also get support from the company’s Patient Contact Centre, which is dedicated to improving adherence to medicines for chronic conditions.

“Five years ago, Shoppers Drug Mart introduced a similar drug plan for its corporate employees and since then we’ve benefitted from considerable and sustained savings,” said Rolnick. “Now we are able to share our solution with other Canadian employers to help them ensure the future sustainability of their drug plans.”