2 septembre 2009

Does Quebec Health Care cover HIV medication?

I’m currently living in Alberta, my hiv meds are fully covered by Alberta Health Care. I want to move to Montreal and I’m wondering what if any does the Quebec cover? Any help is appreciated.

Rimma Orenman

Hi there –

thanks for your question. Unfortunately I do not have a specific answer for you but I have an idea as to how you may find out.

In Quebec, medication fees are covered in two ways: (1) by private insurance that you obtain through work (e.g. up to a certain percentage of the cost of the medications); and (2) by the Quebec medication insurance plan which is obligatory for all those who do not have access to private insurance.

The Quebec medication insurance covers either part or all of the cost of medication (in general). There may also be a fee to pay on a monthly basis depending on your financial situation.

I do not know whether the specific antiretrovirals and other meds that you are on are covered or not- to find out you may have to check with your pharmacist (who would check with the RAMQ – Regie de l’Assurance Maladie du Quebec, the government body that covers health care). Usually, older medications are more likely to be covered (i.e. «on the formulary») than brand new ones.

Finally, there is what’s called a «medicament d’exception.» For example, a person is on a medication that they can no longer take (because of a specific medical reason) and they need to switch to another medication (that is perhaps more expensive and/or has less proof of efficacy behind it, but is the only one that person may now take). Or, a person needs to take a particular medication (which may be expensive and not usually on the Regie’s forms, because this medication is not necessary for most people with the illness in question, but it is the most efficacious one in this particular situation) because if the person does not take this medication, he or she will pose a public health threat or there would be grave danger to himself or herself. The person’s doctor can write a code on the prescription (or sometimes needs to fill out a form that he or she sends to the Regie) such that the medication in question will be covered. I realize this is pretty vague. Each person’s situation is different and needs to be worked out with that person’s doctor and pharmacist.

There is also more information on the Regie’s website:


Hope this helps!

Rimma, for Alterheros.