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10 WAYS TO REDUCE THE COST OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN CANADA

Canada is well-known for its universal healthcare system, which provides all citizens and permanent residents with access to medically necessary hospital and physician services without direct charges at the point of care.

Yet, when it comes to prescription medications, some Canadians still face significant out-of-pocket expenses.

Here 10 ideas on how to reduce the impact of high costs for pharmaceutical drugs.

    1. Provincial and Territorial Drug Benefit Programs:

    1. Provincial and Territorial Drug Benefit Programs

    Each province and territory in Canada has its drug benefit program to help cover the costs of prescription drugs for specific populations, often based on age or income. Eg Ontario offers the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program and British Columbia has the PharmaCare program

    2. Private Insurance

    Many employers offer private health insurance as part of their benefits packages.

    3. Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB):

    The PMPRB is a federal agency responsible for ensuring that the prices of patented medicines sold in Canada are not excessive. While consumers do not interact directly with the PMPRB, its work indirectly benefits Canadians by keeping drug prices in check.

    4. Generic Drugs

    When a prescription is written, Canadians can ask their pharmacists if a generic version of the medication is available.

    5. Patient Assistance Programs

    Several pharmaceutical companies operate patient assistance programs that offer certain medications at reduced prices or even for free to qualifying individuals.

    6. Bulk Purchasing:

    Some provinces have formed alliances to negotiate and buy drugs in bulk, achieving better prices due to the higher purchasing volume.

    7. Comparison Shopping

    Prices for the same drug can vary between pharmacies. Before filling a prescription, it might be worthwhile to compare prices at different pharmacies.

    8. Tax Deductions

    Canadians can claim the cost of prescription drugs as a medical expense on their income tax return. Ensure you keep all receipts and add drug costs in your tax return.

    9. Private Health Service Plans

    Private Health Services plans (PHSPs) allow business owners and incorporated professional to use business income to pay for the personal medication costs of the business owner (as well as their employees). The medications are payed for without the owner/employee  paying any extra taxes for the benefit, and the business can claim the healthcare expenses as tax deductions. Providers such as CarbonFibre Financial offer self-administered private health services plans.

    10. National Pharmacare

    While not available today, there's ongoing debate and advocacy for the establishment of a national pharmacare program in Canada, which would offer universal drug coverage to all Canadians.

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