Not surprisingly, funding and access to these drugs can be a challenge for patients and their families. That’s why the federal government is currently consulting on the development of a national strategy. The goal is to improve drug access – and ensure a sustainable funding model, developed with evidence-based decision-making.

A key and continuing role for private payers

We encourage you to read Access to high-cost drugs for rare diseases: private payers need to be part of the solution. It sets out the issues and highlights the importance of private payer participation in any new strategy.

This is an important issue for plan sponsors. Private health plans like yours currently cover more than 13,000 Canadians with rare diseases. The total spend on rare disease drugs alone by Canadian private plans was approximately $650 million in 2020.1

Sun Life supports the federal government’s work to improve access and affordability. We also believe that private payers and employers are important stakeholders in the ongoing provision of these drugs. Any strategy should improve access to treatments. But it should do so without affecting the drug coverage and health benefits that working Canadians depend on today.

Questions? We’re here to help.

For Clients with fewer than 50 employees, please contact your Client Relations Representative Team at 1-866-606-8936.

For Clients with more than 50 employees, please contact your Sun Life Group Benefits representative.


1Based on data collected from CLHIA member companies. The list of drugs used is based on the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board’s list of rare disease drugs (2018) plus additional drugs that have launched since 2018.