Main Content

Empire Life adds the Express Scripts Canada Opioid Management Solution to its drug benefits

A pharmacist handing a prescription to a patient
Thu, 04/01/2021 - 08:00

New offering reduces exposure to opioids and helps prevent dependence and misuse

(Kingston, ON – April 1, 2021) The Empire Life Insurance Company ("Empire Life") (TSX: EML.PR.A) today announced it is adding the Express Scripts Canada Opioid Management Solution to its pay-direct drug benefit plans. The goal is to reduce exposure to opioids and educate group benefits plan members about the risks associated with chronic use of these powerful drugs, while helping address members' needs.

The Opioid Management Solution is designed for those who have not taken opioids in the past six months. How it works:

  • First fill of a prescription is limited to no more than a seven-day supply. Without restricting access, this minimizes exposure to opioids. The remaining portion of the prescription is kept on file in case it is needed. Acute pain can usually be treated with a three day (or fewer) supply of opioids. The average first fill, however, is more than 18 days.1
  • Short-acting opioids are dispensed before long-acting opioids
  • Automated messages are sent by Express Scripts Canada to pharmacists to alert them about the first fill and to promote plan member education.

The opioid crisis claimed the lives of more than 19,000 Canadians between January 2016 and September 2020.2 29% of Canadians aged 18 years and older reported using some form of opioids in the past five years, and of these, more than one-quarter reported that they have leftover opioids stored in the home.3

"We're very pleased to be adding the Express Scripts Canada Opioids Management Solution to our drug plans," says Vanessa Lycos, Vice-president of group product and marketing at Empire Life. "We're continually looking for innovative ways to enhance Group insurance plan member health in a safe and sustainable way".

"Express Scripts Canada believes that minimizing exposure to opioids and helping prevent progression to overuse and abuse will help protect Canadians from the physical, emotional and financial effects of the opioid epidemic," says Karen Kesteris, Chief Product Officer, Express Scripts Canada. "Our Opioid Management Solution is the industry's most complete and effective approach to help drive change in our nation’s opioid epidemic."

The Opioid Management Solution through Empire Life is not available in Quebec.

About Empire Life
Established in 1923 and a subsidiary of E-L Financial Corporation Limited, Empire Life provides individual and group life and health insurance, investment and retirement products to Canadians. Our mission is to make it simple, fast and easy for Canadians to get the investment, insurance and group benefits coverage they need to build wealth, generate income, and achieve financial security. As of December 31, 2020, Empire Life had total assets under management of $18.8 billion. Follow Empire Life on Twitter @EmpireLife or visit for more information.

For further information:
Shelly Potter
Sr. Manager, Group Marketing/Communication or 416 428-7540

About Express Scripts Canada
Express Scripts Canada is a leading health benefits manager in Canada and has been recognized as one of the most innovative. Our clients include Canada’s leading insurers, third party administrators and government. We work with these clients to develop industry-leading solutions to deliver superior healthcare in a cost-controlled environment. We provide Active Pharmacy™ services to more than 7 million Canadian patients and adjudicate more than 100 million pharmacy, dental, and extended health claims. Through our proprietary consumer intelligence, clinical expertise, and patients-first approach, we promote better health decision for plan members, while managing and reducing drug benefit costs for plan sponsors. Express Scripts Canada is a subsidiary of Express Scripts, a Cigna company. Express Scripts is a healthcare opportunity company that unlocks new value in pharmacy, medical, and beyond to further total health.

For further information:
Nancy Tibbo
Sr. Manager, Marketing & Communications, Express Scripts Canada
416 918-7137 or


2. Government of Canada. Opioid- and Stimulant-related Harms in Canada (2021).
3 Statistics Canada. Results of the Survey on Opioid Awareness (2018).