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Shoppers Drug Mart unveils employer drug plan

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HealthWatch for Business focuses on better management of drug spend

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BRAMPTON, Ontario — Shoppers Drug Mart is launching HealthWatch for Business, a new prescription drug plan for Canadian employers that integrates with their current health coverage.

Parent Loblaw Cos. said Tuesday that HealthWatch for Business can save employers and their employees 5% to 10% on their prescription plan through better management of drug spending.

HealthWatch for Business provides employees with enhanced real-time support at the pharmacy counter at the more than 1,800 pharmacies across the Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw store networks. Members also can access the Patient Contact Center, which focuses on improving medication adherence for patients with chronic conditions.

Mark Rolnick_SDM

Mark Rolnick

“We understand that employers are facing unprecedented financial pressures due to increasingly complex conditions and more costly therapies,” Mark Rolnick, vice president of payor partnerships and plan sponsor innovation at Shoppers Drug Mart, said in a statement. “This HealthWatch for Business drug plan is designed to help employers reduce spending on traditional therapies and create room in the drug plan to afford the growth and innovation of specialty medications.”

The average cost of providing benefits for employees is now $8,330 per full-time worker annually, Loblaw reported, citing data from the Conference Board of Canada. Employee drug plans usually make up a large — and growing — part of that spending, the company added. What’s more, traditional, non-specialty medications frequently used to treat chronic conditions — such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mental health disorders — account for over 70% of an employer’s spending for drug coverage and 98% of the drug claims.

In recent years, Loblaw added, these traditional medications are often overlooked by employers seeking solutions that better manage their specialty drug plan spend.

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

Shoppers Drug Mart introduced its HealthWatch pharmacy care program in 1991. The offering provides a menu of support solutions for pharmacy patients, such as medication records, prescription management tools and automated prescription refills.


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