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Edition 20-018: October 8, 2020

In this issue:

Increased PharmaCare fee for pharmacist-administered vaccinations 

Effective September 1, 2020, BC PharmaCare’s fee paid to community pharmacies for administering a publicly funded vaccine has increased by $2.10 per injection (or intranasally with FluMist)—from $10 to $12.10.

The increase is part of the government’s priority initiative to increase immunization rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will support pharmacists in managing increased demand for flu immunizations while adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines. With more physicians working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that pharmacists will administer more flu vaccines than normal and a higher proportion of the provincial total.

Last year, B.C. pharmacists administered nearly 800,000 flu vaccines and 69,424 non-flu vaccines. The fee increase comes just ahead of the flu vaccine season.

2020 Prosthetic & Orthotic benefits deadline

The end of the 2020 benefit year is drawing near, and many patients will want to obtain a prosthetic or orthotic device and/or supplies by December 31, 2020.

A large volume of applications is normal at this time of year. Those received on or before November 10, 2020, will be processed by the Prosthetic & Orthotic (P&O) Committee with enough time for providers to build and dispense devices and supplies before the year-end. Those received after November 10, 2020, may not be processed in time for providers to submit PharmaCare claims on behalf of patients for the same benefit year.

The P&O Committee will continue to meet and review applications until the final committee meeting of the year, on December 17, 2020.

Forms for Medical Device Providers are available online. Please fax completed applications to HIBC at 250 405‐3590.

Temporary coverage of American buprenorphine extended-release subcutaneous injections (Sublocade®)

On September 30, 2020, two US-labelled buprenorphine extended-release subcutaneous injections, manufactured by Indivior Canada Limited, were temporarily added as limited coverage benefits to mitigate the critical shortage of the Canadian-marketed injections (DIN 02483092 and DIN 02483084).

Buprenorphine is used in the management of moderate to severe opioid use disorder in adult patients who have been inducted and clinically stabilized on a transmucosal buprenorphine–containing product. It is currently marketed in Canada by Indivior UK Limited in two different strengths (100 mg/ 0.5 mL and 300 mg/ 1.5 mL). On September 1, 2020, the manufacturer declared a shortage of both Sublocade strengths on the Canadian Drug Shortage website (Report ID123461 and ID123466). The shortage was attributed to a “disruption of the manufacture of the drug.” There is no reported end date for the shortage.

The two US-labelled products will be distributed by the manufacturer. Pharmacists are to use PIN 09858127 (100 mg/0.5 mL) or PIN 09858128 (300 mg/ 1.5 mL) when entering them into PharmaNet. 

For up-to-date information on any drug shortages, consult Drug Shortages Canada or PharmaCare Drug Shortage Information.

Temporary coverage of American chloroquine phosphate 250 mg tablet

On September 30, 2020, a US-labelled chloroquine phosphate 250 mg tablet, manufactured by Natco Pharma (Canada) Inc., was temporarily added as a limited coverage benefit to mitigate the critical shortage of the Canadian-marketed chloroquine 250 mg tablet (DIN 00021261).

Chloroquine phosphate is an antimalarial drug commonly prescribed for off-label indications such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It is marketed in Canada by Teva Canada Limited as a 250 mg tablet. This product is a PharmaCare limited coverage benefit. Teva is the only Canadian company that supplies this product to the Canadian market.

On November 21, 2019, Teva declared a shortage of chloroquine on the Canadian Drug Shortage website (Report ID99447). The shortage of an active ingredient was reported as the cause. There is no estimated end date.

The imported products will be distributed by Innomar Strategies Inc. Pharmacists are to use PIN 66127291 when entering the US-labelled chloroquine phosphate 250 mg tablet into PharmaNet.

For up-to-date information on any drug shortages, consult Drug Shortages Canada or PharmaCare Drug Shortage Information.

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