Pharmaceutical benefits

The pharmaceutical benefits landscape is changing rapidly. Costs are being driven by innovations in drug development, ageing populations and increasing drug utilization. At Sun Life, pharmaceutical benefits programs focus on providing drug plans that support the optimum health of plan members. We aim to make the plan member experience a positive one, with easy and quick access to information, and an easy claims submission process. For plan sponsors, we emphasize the importance of drug plan sustainability and maintain a rigorous focus on strategic cost management in our drug plan solutions. You can learn more about Sun Life's programs and services here.


Sun Life supports and sponsors thought-provoking and informative research that gives plan sponsors valuable insight into timely industry topics.

Conference Board of Canada research reports on specialty medications:

  • "Specialty Medications: Background Information for Employers" – This first briefing, delves into the topic of biologics and biosimilars and what future effects these could have on the landscape of pharmaceutical costs for insurers and the employers that engage them to provide workplace coverage. The importance of these drugs is highlighted, as well as the importance of ensuring their appropriate use for the benefits of an employee's wellness.
  • "The Value of Specialty Medications: An Employer Perspective" - The second report, further explores the economic model on the value of specialty medication. Sun Life again provided direction and thought leadership throughout the compilation of this report that investigated employer concerns about how to manage rising costs of workplace benefits due to expensive specialty medications. Focusing on three chronic diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis), the report provides a qualitative cost-benefit analysis. The findings suggest that benefits gained from employer-provided specialty medications extend beyond the workplace of the plan member receiving the treatment, but these benefits may not always have a positive return on investment.


Bright Papers

  • Changing the face of cancer – Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, while 1 in 4 will die of the disease*. Cancer and related treatments represent growing costs to Group Benefits plans but also, more importantly, have a significant impact on employees and their families. As an employer, learn what you can do today to change the face of cancer.
    *Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2017.
  • Specialty drugs: Trends, Challenges and Solutions – Specialty drugs present a significant challenge, of a magnitude perhaps not seen before in our industry. This paper presents plan sponsors with a clear view of the specialty drug trend, including forecasts, potential impact to plan costs and pooling, and the steps you can take to help protect your plan.
  • Take your pills: Gaining the Benefits of Approved Drug Adherence – Non adherence to a drug regimen contributes to faster disease progression, temporary disability and increased absenteeism. This paper outlines the actions that employers can take to improve their employees' drug adherence, including practical steps that are not complicated or expensive.