Benefits company launches medical service with Desjardins

A Mississauga company has launched a new medical service with Desjardins Insurance designed to help cut costs and better manage chronic health conditions.

Over a period of three years, health benefits manager Express Scripts Canada developed a new integrated active drug plan management service that aims to use cheaper drugs and automated home delivery for prescriptions.

“Express Scripts pharmacists work with the patients to make more informed health-conscious decisions on their medications,” Express Scripts Canada president Michael Biskey told “We can help choose their optimum medication for their conditions at the lowest possible cost.”

The cost of drugs is the fastest-growing part of provicnial health care budgets and many provinces are looking for ways to make drug plans for seniors and the poor that they finance more affordable.

Moreover, insurers and other providers of corporate health care plans are looking to cheaper generics and other ways to curb drug bills, which are projeced to soar as the population ages.

At Express Scripts Canada, the company looks for lower-cost brand name or generic drugs and then teks the patient and doctor of any medically appropriate alternatives.

“It’s health first, cost second,” Biskey said of the approach. “But at the end of the day we help the patients and work with the physicians to make a more informed drug decision and therapy decision.”

While the physician will ultimately decide with the patient if the lower cost drug is a good alternative treatment, the cost savings are still expected to add up.

In a statement, Desjardins Group executive managing director for wealth management and life and health insurance Bill Packham estimated the new service could help plan sponsors cut their overall healthcare costs by up to 5 per cent and their costs for chronic health problems by as much as 10 per cent.

Biskey said the other main benefit of the new service is that it proactively monitors the patient’s supply of medications so they don’t run out. “That way they can become more adherent to the medication and improve their long-term health outcome,” he said.

Before Wednesday’s announcement, the service had been available for a year to Canadian Pacific Rail, who was an active user with its plan members across the country.

Express Scripts Canada employs 300 people in Canada, including approximately 200 staff at its Mississauga headquarters on Argentia Road in Mississauga and 50 people at its Montreal office.


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