What BC PharmaCare covers
Last updated: May 31, 2023
Pharmacies charge different amounts for drugs and services. You may want to compare prices and services.
- Most drugs prescribed by a physician, dentist, midwife, nurse practitioner, optometrist or podiatrist, licensed and practising in B.C.
- Contraceptives - many are free
- Diabetes supplies
- Ostomy supplies
- Prostheses and orthoses
- Nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation prescription drugs
- Medications for medical assistance in dying (MAiD)
- Paxlovid to treat COVID-19 in qualifying patients
- Treatments for opioid use disorder
- Some pharmacy services, such as:
- Pharmacist assessment and prescribing for minor ailments and contraception
- Medication reviews for most B.C. residents taking 5 or more medications
- Prescription renewals or adaptations
- Publicly funded vaccines
- Expensive drugs for rare diseases on a case-by-case, last-resort basis, with an approximate annual cost of more than $100,000 per patient
Use the PharmaCare Formulary Search to see which drugs PharmaCare covers. Click on a drug's DIN/PIN/NPN to see the plans it is covered under.
Drugs covered by other agencies or facilities, such as those:
- Dispensed or administered in hospitals and emergency departments
- Used to treat cancer (available through BC Cancer Agency)
- For transplants (available through BC Transplant Society)
- For kidney dialysis (available through BC Renal Agency)
- Vaccines funded by the BC Centre for Disease Control
- For anti-retroviral treatment (funded by PharmaCare but provided through BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)
The following medical supplies and devices:
- Hearing aids or hearing aid batteries
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines
- Wheelchairs and walkers
- Baby formula
- Herbal medicine products
- Artificial sweeteners, and
- Other supplies and devices not listed on Medical Supplies
- Purchased from pharmacies not enrolled in the PharmaCare program
- Purchased outside B.C. or from companies/pharmacies outside B.C. (except eligible Plan W benefits)
- Purchased over the counter, unless eligible under a specific PharmaCare plan
- That PharmaCare has decided not to cover (see Drugs Requiring Pre-Approval for exceptions)
- For which a manufacturer has not submitted a request for PharmaCare coverage
- PharmaCare is currently considering for coverage
- Available as part of a private clinical trial
- Prescribed by a veterinarian
- To treat infertility, diet therapies, or normally used for cosmetic purposes (e.g. hair loss, wrinkle prevention)
- Paid for by another payer, such as:
- A private or federal insurer
- WorkSafe BC or ICBC
- Through an award for damages, or settlement agreement
- 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
Children in low and moderate income families may be eligible for basic dental and vision care coverage through B.C.'s Healthy Kids Program.
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Learn more about Pharmacy Services that PharmaCare can help you with.
Some drugs require approval for PharmaCare coverage ("Special Authority").
Use the Formulary Search to find out which drugs PharmaCare covers, under which plans, and how much help you can get with costs