Blog #4 – Change is in the Air

As we near the federal election on October 21st, those of us working in private healthcare in Canada are keeping a close eye on each party’s healthcare platforms, particularly as it relates to pharmacare. If Kelly Grant, the Globe and Mail’s Health Reporter, is correct in her October 1, 2019 article, there is a strong push from NDP and Green parties to deliver on pharmacare, a weakened resolve from the Liberals, and no commitment from the Progressive Conservatives. No doubt, the pharmacare debate is not over and there will be more to discuss post election.


At the November 5th BPHA at Lunch session in Oakville, a new venture for Connex, we will be addressing the impact of the election result on proposed PMPRB reform and pharmacare. Click here for more information and to register for the session.


October 3, 2019 at the BBC – Telemedicine and Virtual Care

This Breakfast Club meeting provided attendees with an overview of proposed amendments to PMPRB drug pricing in Canada and insights into innovative technologies and services in the private healthcare sector.


Clearly there are a large and growing number of virtual care providers that will put pressure on our industry to rethink benefit plans as we have known them. Some are start ups, others are more established, a few have been acquired by larger entities, and some larger organizations have developed their own virtual care solutions. Here are some takeaways:

  • Insurers of all sizes are partnering with providers to make virtual care solutions available to plan sponsors and their plan members.
  • Start ups are diverse and dynamic. Some providers are reaching out to plan sponsors and their advisors directly. Advisors are well advised to keep their eye on the ball or they could be taken by surprise.
  • Plan sponsors and their employees are looking for solutions, not just a tool. Solutions needs to be innovative, thoughtful and creative.
  • Most employees are open to virtual care solutions but adding a human touch will be a strong factor driving overall satisfaction and success for many services.
  • Virtual care solutions can include but are not limited to healthy lifestyle/disease prevention, assistance with an acute condition and management of a chronic condition.
  • Virtual care and telemedicine can deliver valuable services to employees and their families in rural locations, those without a family physician and those who cannot afford the time away from work for an in person appointment.
  • In cases of one on one intervention, response time is very quick and depending on the provider and service, contact will be with a nurse care navigator, disease management specialist, a nurse practitioner or a physician.
  • Confidentiality, evidence of results and data storage are all items that should be on the list of any organization interested in including telemedicine or virtual care as part of their employee benefit strategy.
  • Due diligence. The market is changing rapidly. New solutions will continue to develop and any given provider may not be there for the long haul.

In the Media:

Patent Medicines Pricing Review Board

Details of the proposed amendments to the regulations expected mid September 2019 have been delayed until after the federal election on October 21, 2019. See the BBC overview of PMPRB here.


Canadian Life and Health Insurance – Free Download

CLHIA has released the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Facts, 2019 Edition. You can download your free copy here.



CTV recently reported that according to a study published on September 11, 2019 in The Lancet Oncology, survival rates continue to improve in high-income countries like Canada for seven common forms of cancer. For lung cancer, the five-year survival rate in Canada was highest, at 22%.

Earlier Lung Cancer Diagnosis with EarlyCDT-Lung Test is examined by Dr. Brian Goldman in the September 9, 2019 episode of CBC’s White Coat Black Art. Listen online.


Cannabidiol, better known as CBD

On September 6, 2019, White Coat Black Art’s Dr. Brian Goldman interviewed two experts about the scientific evidence supporting CBD as a medicine. Listen online.



A good read is the Express-Scripts blog on opioid overdose. The piece includes additional resources and information on:

  • Overdose awareness: The drug overdose signs you need to know
  • How addictive are pain killers and how to avoid getting hooked
  • What to do if you suspect someone has overdosed on opioids, including administration of naloxone and the importance of training in CPR.

We’ll be back to you soon. Your questions or comments are welcome. Contact me at or call 905 220 4260. Have a great week!



Denise Balch, Principal Consultant and President, Connex Health

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