Reference Drug Program: A Patient Perspective


The Better Pharmacare Coalition (BPC) wants to give patients and the general public the "straight goods" on Reference Drug Program ("RDP"). Under RDP programs and tools, such as reference drug pricing, drug plans reimburse the cost of the reference drug or drugs in a medication class. Most often, this is the most inexpensive drug in a class.

These policy changes potentially will adversely affect thousands of patients, in particular, our most vulnerable patient populations: the elderly and low-income. Changing a stabilized patient's medication, strictly based on a government medication-pricing scheme with cost containment as the prime consideration, is contrary to evidence-based medical practice. Canadian patient organizations fully support a 'patients first' approach, and so should government. Cost containment policies should preserve and uphold the intent of a health care system to deliver precision medicine and respect the complexity of therapy choices being made between patients and their physicians.

British Columbia continues to be the only province in Canada that supports a Reference Drug Program. But other public and now private drug plans are increasingly using RDP style programs to curb or cut prescription medication reimbursement costs.

To learn the essential facts on reference drug programs and what their implementation could mean to you, take a few minutes to read the information using the links on the left. Your health could depend on it.