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Please Help Convince BC Pharmacare to Cover Long Term ADHD Medications for ADHD Adults And Children

Please tell BC Pharmacare and health minister Terry Lake why they should cover long-acting ADHD medications vs just the short acting ones. CADDAC, CADDRA and some BC Psychiatrists and doctors are organizing this.

Deadline is June 1st, 2016.

If you live in BC and have a family member with ADHD or have ADHD yourself and already know why this is important, have your say here now .

Scroll down to “Therapeutic Review of ADHD Drugs” and chose “Patient Questionnaire” or “Caregiver Questionnaire.” Please follow the instructions carefully.


If you are unsure why this is important, please read on.

I called for BC Pharmacare to cover long-acting (10-13 hour) medications to happen a decade ago.

Sadly, a decade later, in we’re not just behind the American’s on ADHD we’re behind most provinces too in BC, I’m doing it again.

BC PharmaCare helps low-income B.C. residents with the cost of eligible prescription drugs.

Problem: Currently BC Pharmacare only covers short-acting ADHD medications, Ritalin, and Dexedrine which only last for 2-3 hours.  If you are a child and you try and fail on both of them your doctor can apply to be covered for only one Methylphenidate product, Concerta.

If you are one of the ADHD children that Methylphenidate doesn’t work for you and need an amphetamine based stimulant medication like Adderall, Adderall XR, or Vyvanse? The will refuse to help you.

Find that the stimulants don’t work for your child or teen (or adult) and need a non-stimulant SNRI like Strattera? You’re screwed

If you are an adult? BC Pharmacare will refuse to cover ANY long-term ADHD medications. Despite the huge economic costs of ADHD in adults and children for society.

Unlike ADHD backwards BC, see what a more civilized province like Quebec covers:

  • Short acting methylphenidate: Ritalin
  • Short acting dextroamphetamine: Dexedrine
  • Long acting methylphenidate: Concerta Biphentin,
  • Long acting dextroamphetamine: Dexedrine Spansules, Adderall XR, Vyvanse
  • Long acting SNRI selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor Strattera

For more on medications for ADHD see my page with articles on ADHD meds or my page on Common ADHD Medication Companies Websites Chart with links to the company site.

Medications are one way of treating ADHD, useful but not the only method or a complete method. Here are Top 10 Ways to Manage Adult ADHD. Also for some other method, some people ADHD NEED meds to be able to access and actually do the other methods.

Why this a problem.

I think it is cruel to force adults and children with ADHD who have to rely on BC Pharmacare to help pay for needed medication to help manage their ADHD symptoms to remember to take short-acting ADHD prescription medications Ritalin and Dexedrine, 3 times a day.

Because the very symptoms of living with ADHD make it harder to do that.

Imagine if you were an adult or a child with ADHD and because the nature of the condition you were more likely to be:


Easily distracted


Have trouble planning

Time Blind


And someone told you that you had to be organized enough to be able to plan and remember 3 times a day to take your medications. How would you feel? How likely would you able to do this every day?

The very symptoms of living with ADHD make it harder to do to take short term medications 3 times a day. One of the many reasons why BC Pharmacare should cover long-acting ADHD medications like other provinces do.

And short term ADHD medications are often discontinued by ADHD children and adults because of the rebound effect when they wear off. The symptoms of ADHD will often get worse, and last up to an hour. Another reason why covering long-term term ADHD medications is so crucial.

Research studies show that long-acting ADHD medications are better tolerated, have fewer side effects, greater effectiveness and improved adherence.

Long-acting medications also result in reducing stigmatization, facilitating parental control, eliminating the therapeutic gap inherent in multi-day dosing schedules and very importantly reducing diversion and abuse potential.

Therefore, they are currently the most widely prescribed ADHD medications and are listed as the first-line medication treatment option by the Canadian ADHD Practice Guidelines.

I’ve had people who were ex-drug addicts tell me they didn’t want to use short term ADHD medications because the danger of abusing them, but they couldn’t afford long-term medications like Concerta that can’t be abused because BC Pharmacare does not cover them.

Leaving aside the human suffering component and their families, is it smart for BC Pharmacare to cover long-term ADHD medications so fewer people will abuse drugs like crack, meth, heroin etc to self-medicate? 20-30%+ of addicts have ADHD studies show. Only 5% of adults have ADHD.

A decade ago I wrote a post quoting Dr. James Swanson who mentioned at a CADDRA conference that I attended that most US prescriptions for ADHD medications were long term medications.

I called for the BC government to cover long-term ADHD medications, a decade ago

A decade later still not covered.


If you are a caregiver for someone in BC with ADHD (i.e., a family member) or if you have ADHD and live in BC? Please participate in the BC Pharmacare Therapeutic Review Accepting Patient Submissions. Scroll down to “Therapeutic Review of ADHD Drugs” and chose “Patient Questionnaire” or “Caregiver Questionnaire.” Please follow the instructions carefully.

Deadline is June 1st.

CADDAC, CADDRA and some BC doctors and psychiatrists are helping to organize this.

BC PharmaCare is conducting a Therapeutic Review into the coverage of medications used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). BC Patients, caregivers, and patient groups will have the opportunity to provide input as part of the process, between May 4th and June 1st, 2016 AT MIDNIGHT.

At this time in BC, Ritalin and Dexedrine – both short-acting medications – are the only fully covered treatment options. Concerta, a long-acting medication, is available but it is restricted to Special Authority requests.

That is why this Therapeutic Review is so important for patients, their caregivers, and their loved ones.

How to Participate

Interested parties that meet the eligibility requirements, see below, can provide their input by visiting the Ministry of Health website http://www.gov.bc.ca/bcyourvoice and following the directions.

You will be asked to give your perspective on how ADHD affects your life and the impact and benefits of the ADHD medication that you are currently taking, or have taken. Patient, caregiver and patient group eligibility requirements can be found HERE.”

Why not tell Honourable Terry Lake Minister of Health your thoughts on the matter too? His email: HLTH.health@gov.bc.ca

Maybe consider letting your local MLA know why it’s important that they do this. Find your MLA at MLA Finder.

If you know someone in the media, explain to them why this is important, maybe they might help get the word out too.

You should also let BC Pharmacare know they should cover both the methylphenidate AND the dextroamphetamine long-term medications as well as nonstimulant Strattera, since not all ADHD meds work for all  ADDers .

We ADDers are unique, some respond to methylphenidate products like Concerta and Biphentin,  some do not, they respond to the dextroamphetamine ones like Vyvanse and Adderall XR.

There are actually only two classes of stimulant medications – methylphenidate (MPH) and dextroamphetamine (AMP).

Approximately 45% of patients demonstrate preferential response to either methylphendate (MPH) or amphetamine (AMP).

Patients could be started on MPH treatment and show no response but when switched to the other class (AMP) they respond well (or vice versa).

This shows that:

a. the two classes cannot be considered interchangeable for individual patients (ie. lack of efficacy or lack of tolerability on MPH for an individual patient does not predict the same for AMP or vice versa);

and b. it cannot be assumed that we are providing access to adequate treatment for every patient when only one of the two (AMP or MPH) is made available.

Please share this with people who have ADHD and know people who have ADHD. Encourage them to let BC Pharmacare why they should cover long-term ADHD medications.

If you have ADHD and even if you can afford to pay full price for ADHD medications now, what will happen to you if you lose your job or get a job with no ADHD medication coverage?

4 thoughts on “Please Help Convince BC Pharmacare to Cover Long Term ADHD Medications for ADHD Adults And Children”

  1. Mario Mercier

    Hey Pete, I know I’m a few years late but I found this article very important for myself and many others with ADHD in the province. Any new information recently about Pharmacare deciding to get the long-acting medications covered?

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