Change to our generic drug plans

November 1, 2021

For business owners, plan administrators, and sponsors


On February 1, 2021, Manulife will expand the list of drugs considered interchangeable on our generic drug plans in British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB) and New Brunswick (NB).  

In the provinces of BC, AB and NB, pharmacists can interchange or substitute a brand name drug with a generic equivalent drug, for specific drugs on the provincial formulary and other drugs not listed on the provincial formulary.

As a result, Manulife will be expanding the drugs considered interchangeable in these provinces beyond those drugs that are listed as such on the provincial formulary. All brand drugs that have been noted as the reference brand product when a generic drug is approved by Health Canada will be listed as interchangeable effective February 1, 2021.

Manulife is refining our drug interchangeability administrative practice for generic plans in these provinces to help maximize savings without compromising health outcomes. In all other provinces, our administrative practice for generic drug plans will remain unchanged.

How will this affect group plans?

  • For groups with a generic drug plan that have Manulife’s standard contract language, reimbursement of the brand name drug with the newly listed generic will be limited according to the group’s plan design.

How will members be notified?

  • New interchangeable drugs are introduced to the market and added to provincial formularies on a regular basis. When this happens, pharmacists are prompted to make the switch to the generic drug without the member going back to their doctor.
  • Plan members will have the same experience for these new drugs being added to the list. Their pharmacist will be prompted, and reimbursement will be limited according to the group’s plan design.
  • Manulife will send an email to impacted plan members to notify them of this change.
  • Starting February 1, 2021, members can use My Drug Plan located on the plan member site or mobile app to find out if the brand drug they are prescribed has an interchangeable generic.

If you have any questions, please contact your Manulife representative.