Drug review

Last updated: November 17, 2022

Related links: Drug review results | Drug review decisions.

Drug reviews determine the type of coverage a drug will have (if any) and the PharmaCare plan(s) it will be covered under.

PharmaCare considers a drug for coverage only after the drug's manufacturer has applied to have the drug reviewed by PharmaCare. After the review is complete, a drug will be designated a full benefit, a partial benefit, a limited coverage benefit (covered only if a patient meets specific criteria) or a non-benefit.

1. Receive request

Before PharmaCare can consider covering a drug, it must receive a request for coverage from the manufacturer. The drug will have already been approved by Health Canada and may have been reviewed by the Common Drug Review.

2. Clinical input

Clinicians contribute their expertise in the form of clinical practice reviewer reports.

3. Public input

Patients, caregivers and patient groups provide input through Your Voice.

4. Drug Benefit Council

Submitted drugs may be reviewed by the Drug Benefit Council (DBC). This independent advisory board has 12 members: 9 professionals with expertise in medicine, ethics, pharmacoeconomics and health economics; and 3 members from the public. The DBC weighs medical and economic benefits and makes an evidence-based recommendation on whether PharmaCare should include the drug in its formulary.

5. Decision and report

PharmaCare makes a decision after considering:

  • The DBC recommendation
  • Available evidence, public input, and estimated cost
  • Current PharmaCare policy and coverage for the same type of drug, and
  • If coverage for the drug can be accommodated under the current PharmaCare budget

Drug review decisions are published once a decision is made.

add your voice to the province's drug reviews. Share your experience as a patient, caregiver or a representative patient group. Fill out a survey online and help PharmaCare decide which drugs to add to its coverage plans. 

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Are you a general practitioner or specialist interested in participating in drug reviews as a clinical practice reviewer?

Submit your name, contact information, areas of specialization, expertise and/or medical practice interest to DrugReviewProcess@gov.bc.ca.

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