One of the hurdles that limits access to medicinal cannabis, is the lack of coverage by insurance companies due to the lack of recognition of medicinal cannabis as a prescribed drug. Many patients that rely on medicinal cannabis struggle to afford it at the time of purchase, limiting their access and impeding their health and quality of life. However, there is an insurance company partnering with a widely reputable pharmacy that is changing the game and removing some of these obstacles for patients!

Manulife has officially launched a medicinal cannabis program that will allow members to claim benefits for their medicinal cannabis expenses. Program sponsors are eligible to submit an application for the new program and will be able to start using these benefits as of September 2018.

Manulife has also announced their new partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. This will give members of the new Medicinal Cannabis program access to virtual support from a trained team of Pharmacists, helping them choose the right strain and dosage for their particular care needs, facilitate the dispensing of the product, organize the delivery to the patient’s home, and offer ongoing support by phone and email.

What does this ultimately mean for the patients who will be accessing this program?

It’s a great step forward, but there are some limitations in place that may not allow some people to use the new program. Manulife is only covering medicinal cannabis prescriptions for involuntary muscle spasms related to Multiple Sclerosis, nausea and vomiting for those undergoing chemotherapy, and neuropathic pain. In addition, Shoppers Drug Mart is not getting a license to distribute the product, so their assistance will mainly be in the form of support during the ordering process, as well as assistance with case management in order to help with improved tracking of claims and avoid misuse of the product.

What can you do to help make this process even better and get this kind of program available in your own health and medical insurance benefits?

Join us in our fight for better access to medicinal cannabis by writing a letter to your member of parliament, writing to your employer and health insurance company, and continuing to support ongoing research that proves to the medical community and its partners that medicinal cannabis is worth taking seriously in the care plans of patients in need.

Do you have a story about interactions you’ve had with your insurance company regarding your medicinal cannabis prescription?

Write to us about your story so you can help others who are trying to get their insurance companies to make a change in their medicinal cannabis policies.


Manulife’s Medical Marijuana Program – FAQs.

Pellegrini, Christina. Manulife, Shoppers partner in medical cannabis program. The Globe and Mail. Published July 31, 2018.