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Armalyn Tesoro     Manitoba Pharmacare Program

All Manitobans are eligible for Pharmacare coverage no matter how old you are or how much you make. This is a provincial drug benefit program that helps Manitobans pay for their costly prescription drugs.

In order to qualify for the Pharmacare Program you must meet the following criteria:

  • You qualify for Manitoba Health coverage;
  • Your prescription medications are not paid by other provincial or federal programs, or by private drug insurance programs;
  • The cost of your eligible prescriptions exceeds your Pharmacare deductible.

Your family income and the amount you pay for eligible prescription drugs determine your Pharmacare coverage. Every Pharmacare year (beginning April 1st and ending on March 31st), you are required to pay a deductible, which means a portion of the cost of your eligible prescription drugs. This deductible is based on your annual family income.

There is a Deductible Estimator web page where you can calculate your Pharmacare deductible at www.gov.mb.ca/health/pharmacare/estimator.

At the age of 18 years old you will receive your own Manitoba Health registration certificate. If you meet the criteria you can then apply for the drug benefit program.

After you apply for the Pharmacare program, you will receive a letter stating your deductible, which is the amount you need to pay before your drugs are free. When you fill a prescription at your pharmacy you need to present your 9-digit Personal Health Identification Number (PHIN) so that your eligible prescriptions will be applied towards your Pharmacare deductible. The PHIN can be found on the back of your Manitoba Health card.

There is also a computer tracking system called DPIN (Drug Programs Information Network), which records your drug history and keeps track of your deductible. So no matter which pharmacy you go to in Manitoba, your drug history is recorded.

Pharmacare covers only eligible prescription medications. You can ask your pharmacist, doctor, or even contact Pharmacare to find out if your prescription drug is eligible.

Once you meet your deductible, Pharmacare will pay for your eligible prescription drugs up until March 31st of the year. There is a limit as to how much of your prescription Pharmacare will cover. You are entitled to have a maximum of three months or a 100 day-supply of your eligible medication. So for example, if you filled a three-month supply of your blood pressure medicine today, you cannot get another three-month supply tomorrow. You will have to wait until you are almost finished your supply before you can get more.

For more information talk to your pharmacist or contact: Manitoba Health Provincial Drug Programs, 300 Carlton St., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 3M9. Phone: (204) 786-7141. Toll free: 1-800-297-8099. FAX: (204) 786-6634. TTY/TDD Relay Service: (204) 774-8618 outside Winnipeg: 711 or 1-800-855-0511. E-mail: pharmacare@gov.mb.ca and on the web: www.gov.mb.ca/health/pharmacare.

Armalyn Tesoro is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. She is currently working as a licensed community pharmacist at Wal-Mart on Ellice and Empress.

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