VICTORIA, B.C- More families across British Columbia will be able to access PharmaCare through an investment from the provincial government. The three year, $105-million funding program allows for reduced or eliminated deductibles and co-payments for lower-income households.

“These are the first ever changes to Fair PharmaCare deductibles and co-payments since the program was created 15 years ago – a long overdue step forward in improving the health and lives of thousands of British Columbians,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix in a statement.

“For example, as of Jan. 1, households earning up to $30,000 in net income annually no longer have a deductible, meaning the Province will help pay for eligible prescription drug costs right away.”

Families earning between $30,000 and $45,000 in net annual income will also benefit as deductibles and co-payments have been lowered. Seniors born before 1940 earning a household net annual income up to $14,000, and for the lowest income households earning up to $13,750, will no longer have to deal with Fair PharmaCare co-payments.

Creston pharmacist Tamer Boctor said this is great news for seniors on a fixed income.

“Senior population, they need to be covered medically as much as we can. Sometimes they cannot afford their medication. Some of them skip their medication, they can’t pay for that so (they say) I will not take this medication. It badly effects their health and their safety. But doing this and reducing their deductible will help.”

Boctor reiterated the importance of covering seniors over others.

“I look forward to seeing if the government can do more for them, especially the seniors. I’m not talking about covering everyone. This is hard. Impossible. But with seniors, but with seniors with their limited income, the pension is not enough. To survive, to pay the rent and all that, then comes the medication. Some of it is really expensive. They need to be covered.”

Prior to the announcement, families earning a net annual income between $15,000 and $30,000 would have to pay between $300 and $600 in deductibles before Fair PharmaCare would provide coverage assistance. Data from the Ministry of Health has shown there is a link between low-income levels, deductibles, and decreased drug spending. It indicates families are having to choose between essentials like housing and food ahead of prescriptions.

To view the new Fair PharmaCare coverage levels, follow this link.


*** with files from James Wood