What PharmaCare Covers

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

Learn about:

Drugs and medical supplies 

PharmaCare covers:

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

Formulary Search

Use the Formulary Search to find out:

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


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 Fees and Services to learn more. 

Expensive drugs for rare diseases (EDRD)

For PharmaCare’s expensive drugs for rare diseases (EDRD) program, expensive drugs are defined as drugs with an approximate annual cost of more than $100,000 per patient, and a rare disease is defined as a condition that:

  • Is life-threatening, seriously debilitating, or both serious and chronic in nature; and
  • Affects a relatively small number of patients (incidence of less than 5 in 10,000, but typically closer to 1 in 100,000); and
  • Is often genetically based, with onset at birth or early childhood, and leads to a shortened lifespan

EDRDs are not covered by PharmaCare in the same way as other drugs, but in exceptional cases, coverage may be requested by a treating physician through the EDRD patient review process. Requests are assessed for approval on a case-by-case, last-resort basis.

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


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