Accessing Treatments in Canada
The Canada Health Act establishes the framework for a public health care system which provides universal coverage for all Canadians to services that are deemed “medically necessary” – that is physician and hospital services, including medications administered in in-patient hospital settings.
Missing from this framework are certain services provided outside of hospitals, including services by health care professionals that may be useful to people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, like occupational therapists, social workers and counsellors, and outpatient prescription medications.
People may access medications outside of the hospital settings in various ways, including private insurance, public drug coverage and/or paying out-of-pocket. Sometimes drug manufacturers provide patient support programs which could help with the cost of medications.
Click each heading below for additional information.
How Prescription Drugs are Currently Accessed in Canada
In Canada, prescription drugs administered inside hospitals and outside hospitals are accessed differently.
Special Access / Limited Use Designation Drugs
On most private or provincial drug programs, some medications may be listed as “special access” (SA) or “limited use” drugs. Drugs with this designation are typically more expensive and require the fulfillment of certain criteria to be covered.
Accessing Phototherapy in Canada
Medically supervised phototherapy is often recommended as a treatment for plaque psoriasis given its effectiveness, low cost, and relative safety. Despite this, medically supervised phototherapy can be difficult to access.
Where to Get Questions about Access Answered
Understand what to expect at the Pharmacy, and how to get your coverage questions answered.
How New Non-Oncology Drugs Become Available in Canada
Before prescription drugs become accessible through public drug plans in Canada, there is a multi-step process for regulating and reviewing new medications.
Last updated November, 2021.