British Columbia is the first province in Canada to make prescription birth control free to its residents. Starting April 1, 2023, PharmaCare covers the full cost of many prescription contraceptives.
- Oral contraceptives
- IUDs – hormonal and copper
- Contraceptive implants
- Hormone injections (e.g. Depo Provera)
- Emergency oral contraceptives (“morning-after pill”)
Coverage is for the contraceptive products, regardless of the clinical reasons for the prescription (e.g. prevention of osteoporosis).
Patients need to have their prescription filled at a pharmacy for it to be covered by PharmaCare. As a result, IUDs and other contraceptives provided to patients at clinics are not covered by PharmaCare. Physicians are advised to consider this when scheduling appointments to insert IUDs and contraceptive implants.
Morning-after pills (Plan B, Backup Plan Onestep, Contingency Plan) are also covered. As they are over-the-counter medications, no prescription is needed for them to be covered by PharmaCare.
Patients do not have to register for coverage or fill out any forms. They can simply discuss contraception and obtain a prescription from their doctor. They can then present the prescription with their BC Services Card to a pharmacy, and a pharmacist will fill the prescription.
Pharmacists may switch contraceptive prescriptions to products that PharmaCare partially or fully covers. Pharmacists are also be able to prescribe contraceptives starting later this spring. They may not charge patients a fee for the dispensing, assessment, or any other action associated with filling the prescription. Pharmacists will also be able to prescribe contraceptives starting later this spring.
For more information and to view a full list of covered contraceptives, click here.