What PharmaCare Covers

BC PharmaCare covers a comprehensive list of drugs, medical supplies and pharmacy services.

Drugs and medical supplies

PharmaCare covers:

  • Children's orthoses
  • Nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation prescription drugs through the BC Smoking Cessation Program
  • Medications for medical assistance in dying (MAiD)

Some drugs require pre-approval for PharmaCare coverage ("Special Authority").


Services

PharmaCare covers these pharmacy services:

  • Dispensing fees ($10 maximum)
  • Medication reviews for most B.C. residents taking 5 or more medications
  • Prescription renewals or adaptations
  • Publicly funded vaccines

See Pharmacy Services to learn more.

Use the Formulary Search to find out:

  • Which specific drugs PharmaCare covers
  • Which plans a drug is covered under
  • The most PharmaCare will pay

Expensive drugs for rare diseases (EDRD)

On a case-by-case, last-resort basis, PharmaCare covers drugs for rare diseases that have an approximate annual cost of more than $100,000 per patient.


PharmaCare does not help pay for drugs that are covered by other agencies or facilities. For example, drugs that are:

PharmaCare does not help pay for drugs that:

  • Are purchased from pharmacies not enrolled in the PharmaCare program
  • Are purchased outside B.C. or from companies or pharmacies located outside B.C. (except eligible Plan W benefits)
  • Are purchased over-the-counter, unless eligible under a specific PharmaCare plan
  • PharmaCare has reviewed and decided not to cover (see Drugs Requiring Pre-Approval for exceptional cases)
  • A manufacturer has not submitted a request for PharmaCare coverage
  • PharmaCare is currently considering for coverage
  • Are available as part of a private clinical trial
  • Are prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Are used to treat infertility, diet therapies, or normally used for cosmetic purposes (e.g. hair loss, wrinkle prevention)
  • Are paid for by another payer, such as:
    • A private or federal insurer
    • WorkSafe BC or the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)
    • Through an award for damages, or settlement agreement

PharmaCare does not help pay for the following medical supplies and devices:

  • Hearing aids or hearing aid batteries
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines
  • Wheelchairs and walkers
  • Eyeglasses
  • Bandages
  • Baby formula
  • Herbal medicine products
  • Artificial sweeteners, and
  • Other supplies and devices not listed on Medical Supplies

PharmaCare does not help with these fees:

  • Any portion of a dispensing fee above the maximum dispensing fee PharmaCare covers
  • Dispensing fees above the maximum number of fees PharmaCare covers
  • Drug costs above the maximum drug price PharmaCare cover

Questions about PharmaCare? Contact us. We provide interpreter services in over 140 languages.