Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

British Columbia

Prescription Drug Programs in British Columbia

General information on drug coverage and benefit programs offered by the provincial, territorial and federal governments can be found here.

Coverage for Hepatitis C Medications

British Columbia offers its residents a variety of comprehensive drug plans through PharmaCare. PharmaCare provides financial assistance to residents for eligible prescription drugs and medical supplies to ensure that people have access to the drugs they need.  Residents must be actively registered with the Medical Services Plan (MSP) in order to apply for benefits through any PharmaCare plan.

To apply for PharmaCare, people can either register online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or can call (604) 683-7151 from Vancouver or toll-free 1-800-663-7100 in the rest of BC for more information.

How do you apply for coverage of Hep C medications?

In British Columbia, PharmaCare outlines hepatitis C medications that are eligible for coverage.

There are no restrictions on provincial access to treatment based on level of liver injury (fibrosis stage) in British Columbia. Some other jurisdictions still have restrictions on who qualifies for treatment coverage based on fibrosis level.

The amount of coverage people can receive for their hepatitis C medications varies depending on the PharmaCare plan for which they are eligible.  People who receive Income Assistance from the Ministry of Housing and Social Development automatically receive health benefits and coverage for prescription drugs through Plan C.

What about coverage under the Non-Insured Health Benefits program?

Registered First Nations and recognized Inuit people are able to access coverage for their hepatitis C medications through the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program.  For more information, people can visit the NIHB website or be in touch by phone or mail at:

Non-Insured Health Benefits – British Columbia Region
First Nations Health Authority
757 West Hastings Street, Suite 540
Vancouver, BC
V6C 3E6

Toll-free: 1-800-317-7878

The Alberta region currently serves NIHB-eligible Inuit and non-residents living in British Columbia, at 1-800-663-7100.

Costs and Coverage for Treatment in Canada

Some programs can be accessed by all Canadians. Examples include:

Private health insurance

Some health insurance policies offered through private insurance companies include coverage for prescription drugs. These programs often have their own deductible, or co-pay fee, and may have yearly maximums for prescription drugs.

Programs offered by pharmaceutical companies

The pharmaceutical companies that make Hep C medications have programs to help people complete treatment.

These programs have phone support for people on treatment, and part of this support is helping people to access the funding necessary to cover treatment costs. These programs can inform patients about local, provincial, and federal government programs for accessing treatment and can help the patient find out ways to maximize any public funding or private medical insurance (including the appeals process, if the patient also has a supportive doctor). If a person is eligible, some programs can help cover the insurance company co-pay fee, provincial or territorial plan's deductible, and a number of other expenses, depending on a person's specific situation.

AbbVie has the AbbVie Care Program for people taking Holkira Pak (dasabuvir, ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir) or Maviret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir). Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada has the CLAIRE Program for people taking Daklinza (daclatasvir). Gilead Sciences has the Momentum HCV Support Program for people taking Epclusa (sofosbuvir and velpatasvir), Harvoni (sofosbuvir and ledipasvir), Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) or Vosevi (sofosbuvir, velpatasvir and voxilaprevir). Merck has the Merck Care Hepatitis Program for people taking Zepatier (elbasvir and grazoprevir).
 

For more information, contact:

 Merck Care Program

 1-866-872-5773

 Momentum Support Program (Gilead)

 1-855-447-7977

AbbVie Care 

1-844-471-2273

CLAIRE Program (Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada)

1-844-HCV-2559

People who contracted hepatitis C from a blood transfusion between 1986 and 1990 may be eligible to have hepatitis C treatment expenses covered by the Hepatitis C January 1, 1986 - July 1, 1990 Class Actions Settlement. To learn more about these programs, see Compensation.

Revised 2018.