PharmaCare and You
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The PharmaCare program helps eligible British Columbia residents with the costs of eligible prescription drugs and designated medical supplies.
Publicly funded BC PharmaCare is one of the most comprehensive drug programs in Canada. The quality of the program stems from the combination of comprehensive coverage for B.C. residents and coverage of the drugs patients need to achieve real health benefits.
Ministry policy on inducements for government-paid prescriptions – As of July 4, 2011, pharmacies can no longer offer rewards, such as air mile or loyalty points, for any part of a product's cost that is paid by PharmaCare. For more information, see our Inducements Information Sheet (PDF 183K).
Who we cover
B.C. residents are eligible for coverage under the following PharmaCare plans:
- Fair PharmaCare – B.C.’s income-based plan. Most B.C. residents are covered by this plan. You can register for Fair PharmaCare online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Plan B – Permanent residents of licensed residential care facilities
- Plan C – Individuals receiving income assistance from the Province of British Columbia
- Plan D – Individuals registered with a provincial cystic fibrosis clinic
- Plan F – Children receiving medical or full financial assistance through the At Home Program of the Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Plan G – Clients of mental health services centres for whom the cost of medication is a significant barrier to treatment
- BC Palliative Care Benefits Program – For those who choose to receive palliative care at home.
Products we cover
BC PharmaCare covers a comprehensive list of drugs and medical supplies, including:
Services we cover
- the full cost of a pharmacist-delivered medication review services for most B.C. residents taking 5 or more medications
- all B.C. residents for clinical services fees associated with prescription renewal or adaptation by pharmacists.
If you are eligible for assistance, PharmaCare’s share of your drug costs is calculated automatically at the time of purchase. You pay only the costs not covered by PharmaCare. For some items, such as prosthetics and orthotics, a manual claim must be submitted by you or the supplier.
A secure, province-wide computer system called PharmaNet keeps track of your prescription and medical supply costs – you don’t have to “do the math” or submit receipts.
What is not covered through PharmaCare
- Individuals who do not have valid, active B.C. Medical Services Plan coverage
- Drugs administered in hospitals and emergency departments (available through the local health authority)
- Cancer drugs (available through the BC Cancer Agency)
- Anti-retroviral medications (funded by PharmaCare but available only through the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)
- Transplant medications (available through the BC Transplant Society)
- Kidney dialysis medications (available through the BC Renal Agency)
- Drugs or supplies purchased outside of British Columbia
- Mail-order prescriptions requested from companies or pharmacies located outside the province
- Drug costs above the maximum price recognized by PharmaCare
- Dispensing fees above the maximum dispensing fee recognized by PharmaCare or above the maximum number of fees allowed for dispensing prescriptions daily or in a supply of 2 to 27 days
- Drug costs that have been fully reimbursed by another insurer (including private insurers, Veterans' Affairs Canada, the Canadian Forces, and the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program)
- Drugs prescribed by a veterinarian
- Baby formula
- Hearing aids or hearing aid batteries
- Herbal medicine products
- Artificial sweeteners
- Most over-the-counter medications
- Wheelchairs, walkers, and other medical devices
When you move away from British Columbia, PharmaCare coverage ends the day you leave the province. PharmaCare will seek recovery of financial assistance for any period during which an individual did not have valid Medical Services Plan coverage or was no longer a resident of the province.
Coverage of specific drugs
Want to know if your drug is covered?
» Use our online Formulary Search or contact Health Insurance BC.
Want to learn more about PharmaCare drug coverage decisions?
» Visit our Drug Coverage Decisions section for information on
- how drug coverage decisions are made
- how you can provide input into those decisions
- why and when a coverage decision was made
- whether PharmaCare covers a specific drug
- how manufacturers can request that a drug be considered for PharmaCare coverage