Medication Affordability Initiative
Information for healthcare providers
If your patient is in your office and you are running late, the following steps may help you manage medication affordability in a timely and efficient manner.
- Ask all of your patients if they struggle to afford their prescription medication
- If they answer yes:
- Advise them to sign up for Fair PharmaCare
- Review medications for possible generic alternatives
- Give them a copy of this patient infographic and invite them to make a future appointment to go over it with you
- When a patient does not take their prescription medication because they cannot afford to it is called cost-related nonadherence. This includes cutting pills in half, skipping doses, and cutting back on other expenses such as food, heat, or other health-care expenses.
- 5% or 1.7 million Canadians were unable to afford their prescription medication.
- As a result of CRNA, 303,000 Canadians had additional doctor visits, about 93,000 sought care in the emergency department, and about 26,000 were admitted to hospital at the population level.
- Patient outcomes include lower quality of life, poorer overall health status, psychological and emotional impacts for the patient and their family (Dhaliwal et al., 2017; Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009).
- Medication affordability issues most often occur with females, younger adults, Aboriginal peoples, those with poorer health status, and those lacking drug insurance coverage (i.e., those with poorer social determinants of health).
How you can address medication affordability with your patients
- Talk with your patient about medication affordability (CRNA)
- Encourage patients to enroll into Fair PharmaCare as soon as possible
- Deprescribe when possible (see https://deprescribing.org/ or https://choosingwiselycanada.org/)
- Prescribe generic medication
- Consider single-agent rather than combination-agent medications
- Ensure that you have applied for special authority for non-benefit drugs
- Provide 100-day supplies for stable patients
- Encourage patients to apply for monthly deductible payments by calling Fair Pharmacare
- Contact pharmaceutical companies to ask about patient assistance programs
- Encourage patients to speak to community pharmacists
- Healthcare Provider Brochure
- Healthcare Provider Poster
- Patient Infographic (step-by-step guide to signing up for Fair PharmaCare)
- Healthcare Provider Video
Need to look up the cost of a medication?
Drug Plans in BC
Fair PharmaCare—(income-based plan) is BC’s largest public drug plan. Requires patients to register in order to cover eligible medications, devices and fees. You can register online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Plan B – Permanent residents of licensed residential care facilities
- Plan C – Individuals receiving income assistance from the Province of British Columbia
- Plan D – Individuals registered with a provincial cystic fibrosis clinic
- Plan F – Children receiving medical or full financial assistance through the At Home Program of the Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Plan G – Clients of mental health services centres for whom the cost of medication is a significant barrier to treatment
- Plan P – BC Palliative Care Benefits Program for those who choose to receive palliative care at home
- Plan W – First Nations Health Benefits
For more information visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents
Fair PharmaCare link
For more information about Fair PharmaCare, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents/who-we-cover/fair-pharmacare-plan
Shows how much your patient has to pay out of pocket, based on their income: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare/income_bands_fair_pcare_regular.pdf
Helps you calculate your patient’s deductible (out-of-pocket cost) using their tax information (if available): https://my.gov.bc.ca/fpcare/financial-calculator
Check the home page for a list of community resources.