Loblaw Companies and Shoppers Drug Mart have added medical marijuana coverage for 45,000 employees.
Eligible prescriptions for medical marijuana will be covered up to an annual maximum of $1,500 to treat spasticity and neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis, as well as treating nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy for cancer patients.
“We regularly review our benefit plans to ensure they continue to meet the needs of our employees while also adapting to changes in the area of drug therapies,” said Tammy Smitham, VP, external communication at Loblaw & Shoppers Drug Mart, in an email to Canadian Grocer.
“More robust clinical evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for some specific conditions has emerged and we felt the time was right to make this addition to our benefits plan.”
Asked if the company would expand coverage to include other medical conditions, Smitham said, “We will continue to review evidence as it become available for other conditions.”
Loblaw Companies and Shoppers Drug Mart work with both Manulife and Great West Life on its employee health benefit plans.
Last October, Shoppers Drug Mart announced it had applied to Health Canada to be a distributor of medical marijuana.
Smitham said there is “no new news” about its application.