Pharmacist and patient smiling


Learn how to keep the cost of your prescription drugs low

Save money and keep your health benefits plan sustainable


The cost of prescription drugs is rising, which puts more pressure on your wallet and on your health benefits plan. Understanding what affects the pricing of prescription drugs and how you can lower your own costs can help save you money and ensure your plan stays sustainable. A sustainable plan means all members can continue to have coverage at the lowest possible rate.

What affects the cost of prescription drugs?

Dispensing fees and markups are both factors in the cost of your prescription drugs.

  • Pharmacies charge a dispensing fee to cover services like verifying prescriptions, reviewing your medications profile and counselling patients. The average dispensing fee is $10 per prescription.
  • A markup is the percentage added to the manufacturer’s list price of the drug. Markups vary among pharmacies. They can range from 2 per cent to 92 per cent which is added to the manufacturer’s list price.

Lower your prescription costs by using the Preferred Pharmacy Network

Pacific Blue Cross has partnered with a network of pharmacy chains to form the Preferred Pharmacy Network. Pharmacies in the network charge the lowest prices on prescription drugs and dispensing fees. Many of the pharmacies offer home delivery.

Some examples of pharmacies in the network are London Drugs, Save-on-Foods and Costco. Costco is one of the most cost-effective choices, and you don’t need a Costco membership to fill your prescriptions.

The Pacific Blue Cross pharmacy compass tool, on the Pacific Blue Cross website, helps you find a network pharmacy in your area. It also helps you compare prescription drug prices and dispensing fees.

Once you choose a network pharmacy in your area, the pharmacist can contact your previous pharmacy to transfer your prescription.

If you live in a small community, a network pharmacy may not be available in your area. You can still save money with these tips:

  • Pay less dispensing fees over time by requesting a three-month supply at once for ongoing medications.
  • Speak to your pharmacist about generic drugs. They are as safe and effective as brand-name drugs.
  • Think about lower-cost therapeutic alternatives. Your pharmacist and doctor might help provide you with a more cost-effective treatment.
  • File claims online. You’ll be reimbursed faster and save money on postage.

For more information about the compass tool or the Preferred Pharmacy Network, please contact Pacific Blue Cross: 1-877-722-2583. BC Pension Corporation cannot answer questions about the tool.

The board provides retired plan members access to optional extended health care and dental coverage through Pacific Blue Cross. To learn more about coverage options for retired plan members, please read Retirement health coverage and you.