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Each province and territory in Canada has a different program for subsidizing drug costs for their residents. These programs have different criteria for who is eligible for coverage, how much the province or territory will pay and what drugs are covered. The programs may be complicated to understand without the help of your local AIDS service organization. Generally, the publicly funded provincial and territorial drug programs offer coverage for people on social assistance (“welfare”) and for seniors over the age of 65. Some provinces issue cards to show to your pharmacist that prove you are entitled to this type of coverage.
In British Columbia, antiretroviral medications and other drugs for management of HIV/AIDS are provided at no cost to medically eligible patients through the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) Drug Treatment Program. The following criteria are eligible to access medications for treatment of HIV infection through enrolment into the BC-CfE HIV Drug Treatment Program:
Documented HIV infection and clinically meets the current criteria for treatment with antiretroviral medication (as specified in the BC-CfE Therapeutic Guidelines)
BC resident with Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage (active BC Personal Health Number) or Interim Federal Health coverage (e.g. refugee status) or active medical plan coverage from another Canadian Province, for temporary coverage pending active MSP coverage.
If you were to buy antiretroviral medication out of pocket it can range anywhere from $300-$500 Canadian dollars per month which is determined by the market price listed by the pharmaceutical companies.
For more information regarding how to obtain HIV medication in British Columbia please visit the BC Centre for Excellence’s website at http://cfenet.ubc.ca/drug-treatment-program.