Ads keep this website free for you. does not research or endorse any product or service appearing in ads on this site.  Before making a major financial decision you  should consult a qualified professional.

BC PharmaCare
Canadian Tax and
Financial Information Home

What's New

Links & Resources

Site Map

Need an accounting, tax or financial advisor? Look in our Directory.  Use above search box to easily find your topic!   Stay Connected with!


Home  ->  Tax Rates/Credits  ->  BC Tax  -> PharmaCare

BC Fair PharmaCare Program

BC Fair PharmaCare Coverage / Registration

BC PharmaCare Deductibles and Family Maximums

PharmaCare Enhanced Assistance For Those Born Before 1940

BC PharmaCare Income Review Application

Pharmacy Prescription Prices Are Not Equal

2019 Changes To BC PharmaCare Assistance

BC PharmaCare Program Resources Resources - Medical Services Plan

BC Fair PharmaCare Coverage / Registration

Under the BC Fair PharmaCare program, prescription costs and some medical supplies are subsidized.  The amount of the subsidy depends on family net income, and seniors born in 1939 or earlier, or couples with one born in 1939 or earlier, get a higher subsidy.  It is necessary to register for PharmaCare in order to receive benefits.  An October 3, 2022 announcement indicated people new to BC can now apply for Medical Services Plan (MSP), Fair PharmaCare, and Supplementary Benefits at the same time using the BC Application for Health and Drug Coverage (AHDC).  See link at bottom of page.

Every BC resident should register (see link at bottom of page), even if at present you won't receive a benefit, because if your income drops or your prescription costs go up, you will already be covered.

Tax Tip: Register for PharmaCare even if you don't currently need it!

BC PharmaCare Deductibles and Family Maximums

With PharmaCare, each family has a "deductible" amount which is based on family net income.  For 2023, the deductible would be based on family (both spouses if married or living common-law) net income from line 23600 of the 2021 tax return.  Once the deductible amount is met, Pharmacare pays 70% of the prescription cost.  The remaining 30% is the "co-pay" paid by the family.  Each family also has a "family maximum" based on income, and once the family maximum is reached, PharmaCare pays 100% of the cost of prescriptions.

Note that until the family maximum is reached, pharmacies may charge clients more than the "Pharmacare" amount for a prescription drug.  Once the family maximum is reached the pharmacy may not charge anything more than the amount covered by Pharmacare.

Example:  Family with net income of $26,000:

There is no deductible, so PharmaCare will pay 70% of prescription costs immediately.

Once the family's prescription costs reach the maximum $600, PharmaCare then pays 100% of the eligible costs for the rest of the year.

PharmaCare Enhanced Assistance For Those Born Before 1940

If at least one spouse is born in 1939 or earlier, the annual deductible is zero until family net income exceeds $33,000.  With family income of $26,000,  PharmaCare pays 75% until the family maximum of $300 is reached, and then 100% of eligible costs are paid by PharmaCare for the rest of the year.  

PharmaCare will pay 100% immediately for families with at least one spouse born 1939 or earlier, with net incomes up to $14,000.  There will be no "co-pay" at all.

The enhanced PharmaCare assistance for those born in 1939 or earlier used to be available for those who were age 65+.  This was revised, so eventually there will be no enhanced Pharmacare assistance.

PharmaCare Income Review Application

If you

bullet are already registered for PharmaCare,
bullet have experienced layoff, loss of employment or other reduction of income resulting for any reason,
bulletand your anticipated gross income for this year will be at least 10% less than your income from two years ago as verified by the Canada Revenue Agency,

then you can apply to PharmaCare for an income review using the form linked above, to lower your PharmaCare deductible threshold.

Pharmacy Prescription Prices Are Not Equal

Most pharmacies charge more than the eligible cost for prescription drugs, but there can be a big difference in the price between pharmacies.  See our article Prescription Prices are not Equal!

2019 Changes To BC PharmaCare Assistance

A January 4, 2019 news release from the Ministry of Health details changes to Pharmacare deductibles that started January 1, 2019.  Households earning up to $30,000 per year in net income no longer have a deductible.  The deductible is reduced for families earning from $30,000 to $41,667 net income annually.  Family maximums are eliminated or reduced for families earning up to $45,000.  See the Table of Adjustments to Deductibles and Family Maximums.

BC PharmaCare Program Resources

PharmaCare program - main information page, with link for online registration.

BC Application for Health and Drug Coverage (AHDC)

Fair PharmaCare coverage - how your coverage is calculated

BC PharmaCare Plans - there are 12 plans including First Nations, Income Assistance, Long-term Care, Smoking Cessation and others.

Tables showing Fair PharmaCare deductibles and annual maximums based on family net income:

Fair PharmaCare Assistance Levels - Regular and Enhanced

Drug Plan Regulation

Fair PharmaCare calculator - estimate the financial assistance you will receive from PharmaCare.

PharmaCare Formulary Search - find out which drugs are covered by PharmaCare.

PharmaCare Newsletters Resources

BC Medical Services Plan - includes supplementary benefits for low income individuals

Tip:  Register for PharmaCare to ensure you do not miss out on benefits!

Revised: February 23, 2024


Copyright © 2002 Boat Harbour Investments Ltd. All Rights Reserved.  See Reproduction of information from

Facebook  | Twitter  |  See What’s New, stay connected with by RSS or Email
The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.  Each person's situation differs, and a professional advisor can assist you in using the information on this web site to your best advantage. 
Please see our legal disclaimer regarding the use of information on our site, and our Privacy Policy regarding information that may be collected from visitors to our site.