The Determination of Accessibility to and Utilization of Fair PharmaCare by Various Ethnic Minority Groups

Since the mid-1990s, North American prescription drug expenditures have been escalating at double-digit rates. Canadians spent $18 billion on prescription medicines in 2004. The rising cost of prescription drugs has raised concerns about the affordability of health care for Canadians. Provincial drug coverage programs within Canada employ diverse strategies for reimbursement. In British Columbia, an income-based drug benefit plan is utilized. This program, dubbed Fair PharmaCare, requires residents to register with the government to be eligible for public subsidy. Vivian Leong is evaluating levels of participation in the Fair PharmaCare program in different socioeconomic and socio-cultural communities to determine the factors that influence access among ethnic minorities. Vivian will identify whether some groups have unequal access to pharmacare subsidies, and if so, why the inequity exists. She is also assessing whether provincial government efforts to promote awareness among minority groups have been effective. This research will help policy makers address inequities and target health promotion to reach and better serve various ethnic communities in British Columbia.