Prescription Drug Formulary

In May 2015, the WCB changed our prescription drug formularies to help ensure injured workers have access to the drugs that will effectively support recovery and return to work, at the right times and in safe amounts. These changes introduced a new Special Authorization process, which is administered via a partnership with Medavie Blue Cross. 

Opioids are in their own time-limited formularies: one for acute injuries and one for more critical injuries or illnesses (see opioid guide). Many non-opioid medications were also moved from open benefit to special authorization status (see non-opioid guide).

By following the links below, you will find up-to-date forms and information related to our drug coverage program:

Most injuries (such as musculoskeletal, bones/nerves/spinal cord, wounds, burns, other traumatic injuries) have automatic coverage for many opioids for 12 weeks following the date of injury. More critical illnesses (cancer) or injuries have automatic coverage for opioids for 24 weeks following the date of injury.

In addition, there are quantity limits for certain drugs to support medically safe dosage levels.

All injuries which occurred on or after May 11, 2015 are subject to the special authorization process and quantity limits for both opioids and non-opioids. 

For workers with an open WCB claim whose injury occurred before May 11, 2015, coverage was not interrupted for continuing prescriptions in place at the time.  The same level of open benefit coverage also remained in place for a minimum of 12 months.   

Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Matt Bowes, agreed with the changes, stating, “The abuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem in Nova Scotia, and the solution will require many agencies working together for the public good. I applaud the WCB’s continuing efforts to align its practice with current evidence.” 

“Good prescribing is informed by evidence and fortified by assessment and reassessment of the patient,” said Dr. Gus Grant, Registrar and CEO at the CPSNS. “The changes made by the WCB align the formularies with best practices and supports good prescribing.”‎