Shoppers, Loblaw Employees Covered for Medical Marijuana

Article by Lisa Wright, Toronto Star

With Canada on the cusp of legalization, Shoppers applied last October to become a licensed marijuana producer for the purpose of retailing medicinal weed. Shoppers, Loblaw employees covered for medical marijuana Shoppers will be the largest private sector employer in Canada to provide medical marijuana benefits to employees

Canada’s largest pharmacy chain hopes to soon get the green light to sell medical marijuana – and now its store employees who need that prescription weed could be among its first customers.

Loblaw Companies Limited and Shoppers Drug Mart just announced in an internal staff memo that effective immediately it will be covering medical pot under the employee benefit plan up to a maximum of $1,500 per year.

Claims to insurance provider Manulife “will be considered only for prescriptions to treat spasticity and neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis and nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy for cancer patients,” said Basil Rowe, senior vice-president of human resources at Loblaw Companies Ltd., owner of Shoppers, in the memo.

“These are the conditions where the most compelling clinical evidence and literature supports the use of medical marijuana in therapy,” explained Loblaw/Shoppers spokesperson Tammy Smitham.

“We will continue to review evidence as it become available for other indications (conditions),” she said.

Since cannabis does not yet have a Drug Identification Number recognized by insurers, it isn’t covered under typical drug spending. However, it will be covered through a special authorization process where plan members will pay and submit their claim after, said Smitham.

Read full article here.

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