Manulife-Loblaw deal to deliver specialty drugs sparks access, competition concerns – CTV

Jan. 30, 2024

Some pharmacare policy experts are raising concerns about competition and patient access to much-needed medication after Manulife Financial Corp. announced its coverage of certain prescription drugs will only apply at Loblaw Cos. Ltd. pharmacies.

The new arrangement, details of which were shared with plan holders earlier this month, affects around 260 medications under the insurance company’s Specialty Drug Care program. Drugs in this class are meant to treat complex, chronic or life-threatening conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, cancer, osteoporosis and hepatitis C.

Manulife said that starting Jan. 22, the program would transition to being carried out “primarily” through Shoppers Drug Mart and other Loblaw-owned pharmacies. The company had previously also covered specialty drugs through national home and community health-care providerBayshore HealthCare.

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