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PrEP cost in Canada

PrEP cost in Canada

Updated on:
January 16, 2023

PrEP can be free or low cost for most Canadians

The price of PrEP as medication varies depending on the province or territory you live in. In some provinces, the provincial government covers the cost of PrEP for eligible residents. In others, the price of PrEP may only be covered by provincial programs for some residents. Fortunately, Freddie offers financial assistance for PrEP with our Compassionate Care program and “bridging” program to increase Canada’s PrEP accessibility!

The price can also vary based on which form of PrEP pill you choose. Freddie offers PrEP in two options: Generic TruvadaDescovy. Both of which provide equal amounts of protection against HIV when taken daily.

Less than 10% of patients experience any side effects from PrEP, and those that do usually report them disappearing within a few weeks. If you’d like to see if you qualify for PrEP, check out our free 1-minute PrEP assessment.

Want a detailed breakdown of PrEP costs based on insurance coverage and a list of local PrEP clinics? Check out the following resources:

PrEP in Alberta

PrEP in British Columbia

PrEP in Ontario

PrEP in Quebec

PrEP cost in Alberta

PrEP is available for no cost through the government’s publicly funded PrEP program administered by Alberta Blue Cross. To access PrEP for no charge under this program, an individual must:

  • Be registered under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan
  • Meet the Alberta PrEP eligibility criteria
  • Receive their prescription from a designated PrEP prescriber

Alternatively, eligible First Nations individuals and Inuit may access PrEP at no cost through the federal Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program. PrEP is covered under NIHB even if a designated PrEP prescriber does not issue the prescription.

PrEP cost in British Columbia

PrEP is free for BC residents who are enrolled under the province’s Medical Services Plan.

With private insurance: 85% of patients can get Descovy, a form of PrEP with fewer reported side effects, online with Freddie. Plus you have the added benefit of gaining access to online care.

Without private insurance: Patients can get generic PrEP for free by physically visiting a doctor or clinic within The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS network.

Freddie can only serve BC patients with private insurance at this time, due to provincial regulations.

Cost of PrEP in Manitoba

 PrEP in Manitoba is not covered by provincial assistance programs. Individuals who fit eligibility requirements for certain federal programs may be able to get the price of PrEP covered. Private insurance will be required for those unable to enrol in federal programs.

PrEP cost in Ontario

  • With OHIP, 24 years old and younger: Free
  • With OHIP, 25 years old and older, no private insurance: $250/month minus $100/month in financial assistance from Freddie
  • With OHIP, 25 years old and older, with private insurance: Most plans cover 80% of the cost, so insurance covers $200, and the patient pays $50. However, Freddie’s financial assistance programs bring the $50 cost down to $0
  • Without OHIP with private insurance: Same as above

In Ontario, the price of PrEP is covered for some residents automatically. For others, there are several other options available to assist with the cost of PrEP for individuals without private insurance.

Ontario residents 24 years and younger are fully covered by OHIP+, as long as they are not on a private insurance plan. Anyone who falls into this category can rest assured that they do not have to enroll or register to access OHIP+ coverage.

For Ontarians 65 years and older, coverage is offered under the Ontario Drug Benefit plan (ODB). Enrolment in ODB is automatic, and coverage begins on the first day of the month after turning 65 years old.

Residents of Ontario between and including 25 and 64 years of age may be covered under a private insurance plan through their employer or educational institution. For those who fit this age group and don’t have private insurance, there are a few different governmental options to consider before looking into purchasing an individual private insurance plan.

Provincial aid is offered through Service Ontario for Ontarians with continuous or recurrent impairment or disability under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Under ODSP, a benefit member is eligible for drug coverage if income support is being paid on their behalf.

For Ontarians in temporary financial need, Ontario Works may be an option that provides support with health benefits and financial assistance for housing, food, and other living costs.

The Trillium Drug Program (TDP) is a government-run program that assists Ontarians 25-64 years old who are responsible for paying out-of-pocket for high-cost, recurring prescriptions. TDP will help cover prescription drug costs for all eligible household members. Though an application process is required, annual enrollment is automatic.

Beyond the aforementioned provincial assistance programs, there are a few federal programs that offer prescription drug coverage and will cover the price of PrEP, including the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program, which provides benefits for First Nations registered under the Indian Act and Inuit who are recognized by an Inuit land claim organization; the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) which covers certain healthcare benefits for resettled refugees, refugee claimants, and certain other groups until they become eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance; and the Treatment Benefits Program which covers anyone holding a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) health card.

PrEP cost in Quebec

The cost of PrEP differs based on whether you have public health coverage through RAMQ or private insurance.

Without public or private insurance: The price of PrEP is roughly $250

With private insurance: The cost of PrEP has historically been ~$50 per month (but it depends on the policy). However, due to Freddie’s recent launch of Descovy, the newest form of PrEP with fewer side effects, 85% of patients with private insurance can now obtain Descovy as PrEP for $0 with Freddie.

With public insurance: If you are covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), the cost of PrEP is $95.31 per month, unless you have received an exemption. That being said, if you already have recurring prescriptions that you are filling with RAMQ, if you add on PrEP, the most you will pay is the maximum fee of $95.31. The RAMQ website has more details at Freddie is not currently able to serve Quebec patients without private insurance at this time, due to funding limitations.

PrEP cost in Saskatchewan

For residents of Saskatchewan, PrEP is fully covered by the provincial government for individuals who are at a higher risk of coming in contact with HIVDuring your initial consultation, your clinician will go through the criteria with you and determine your level of risk. If you meet the criteria and have a valid Saskatchewan Health Card, PrEP will be available to you at no cost.

PrEP prices in other provinces

Eventually, Freddie hopes to serve all of the provinces and territories in Canada. We’re not established in the following provinces and territories yet, but here is a brief overview of what coverage looks like for PrEP across the rest of Canada:

Cost of PrEP in New Brunswick: PrEP may be covered under plans available to seniors, uninsured individuals, and social assistance programs, but co-pays may be required.

Cost of PrEP in Newfoundland and Labrador: PrEP coverage is available through the provincial drug program, and some co-pays are defined by the program’s eligibility criteria.

Cost of PrEP in Nova Scotia: PrEP in Nova Scotia can be covered through exception status via the Nova Scotia Family Pharmacare Program and requires enrolment in the Nova Scotia Family Pharmacare Program. Co-pays are defined by the family’s size and annual income.

Cost of PrEP in Prince Edward Island: If approved by the chief public health office, PrEP in Prince Edward Island will be provided at no charge.

Cost of PrEP in Yukon: PrEP in Yukon is not covered by territorial assistance programs. Individuals who fit eligibility requirements for certain federal programs may be able to get the cost of PrEP covered, and private insurance will be required for those unable to enroll in federal programs.

Reviewed by:
Dr. Caley Shukalek

Caley is passionate about evidence-based, patient-centred care, including telemedicine that can provide high quality care from wherever a patient may choose.

He helped create Alberta's PrEP guidelines and works as a specialist in General Internal Medicine with additional training in sexual health, including HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

He holds an Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, an MD from the University of Calgary and an MSc from the University of Alberta.