When the pharmacist fills your prescriptions, the pharmacy charges you for the cost of the drug and a dispensing fee. This fee varies by pharmacy and is a charge for filling the prescription. In Canada, dispensing fees can range anywhere from $4 to $16 for each prescription you fill.
If you are prescribed the same drug on an ongoing basis and have your prescription filled once a month, over the course of a one-year period, you would have paid 12 dispensing fees. This amount adds up over time.
Some group benefits plans may include a drug dispensing fee maximum which encourages members to fill their prescriptions every three months, instead of monthly, when the drug prescribed is for long-term use.
Talk to your health-care provider or pharmacist about how to get started on a three-month supply for drugs prescribed for long-term use.
Many health-care providers and pharmacists are used to dispensing a standard quantity of a drug and may not have considered writing a prescription for a larger quantity; many are just not aware of what your group benefits plan covers.
By talking to your health-care provider or pharmacist you can let them know about your dispensing fee maximums for your benefits plan. Where it’s reasonable, you may be able to request a three-month supply to be dispensed. If the drug is one where it is not reasonable to dispense larger supplies, they will let you know.
If you’re trying a prescription drug for the first time for the treatment of an ongoing medical condition, it’s wise to wait before requesting more than a one-month supply of the drug. It’s important to get a sense for a drug’s effectiveness and your reaction to a new drug before having a three-month supply dispensed.
Questions? We are here to help. For more information on your drug coverage and drug dispensing fee maximums, check your benefits booklet. You can also contact OTIP Benefits Services at 1-866-783-6847 or send us an online note.