Without a universal prescription drug plan, coverage in Canada vastly differs depending on where you live. British Columbia has lowest rate of access to prescription medications in the country. Like Manitoba, access to public coverage is based on family income and requires a deductible, which has been proven to reduce access.
- 29 percent of respondents in British Columbia – more than any other province in the country – said they or someone else in their household hadn’t taken medication as prescribed because they couldn’t afford to.
- Public spending in British Columbia covers less than half the cost of prescription medicine.
- An estimated one in three of the province’s 2,306,200 workers – 768,733 – don’t have health benefits.
- In Canada, only about 27 percent of part-time workers have prescription drug coverage. That means that in 2015, about three quarters of British Columbia’s 482,200 part-time workers didn’t have prescription drug coverage.
- BC’s Fair Pharmacare Plan provides income-based coverage for both individuals and families, basing deductibles and maximums on household annual income. Once the deductible amount has been reached, the province’s Pharmacare plan contributes to any additional eligible costs for the rest of the year. Beneficiaries are responsible for all co-payments up to an annual family maximum.
- Even charges as low as $2 have been found to be a barrier to taking medication as prescribed.
This patchwork coverage leaves many in British Columbia without access to the medication they need, either because they don’t have a prescription drug plan or have plans that don’t cover the cost.
Everyone should have equal access to the prescription drugs they need regardless of where they live. It’s time for a universal prescription drug plan.