The ethical case for providing cost-free access to lifesaving HIV medications in Canada: Implications of a qualitative study

Healthc Manage Forum. 2016 Nov;29(6):255-259. doi: 10.1177/0840470416660569. Epub 2016 Oct 15.


Antiretroviral therapy for HIV can be expensive if paid for out of pocket. In Canada, there are a variety of federal, provincial, and private prescription drug plans that lower the cost of these lifesaving medications for people living with HIV, and in some cases, these plans result in cost-free access. However, many people living with HIV must contend with high deductibles for their antiretroviral therapies, and many experience difficulty managing the administrative requirements of their drug plans. This article comments on some of the results of a qualitative study into ethical issues in HIV care. Access to antiretrovirals was a theme that emerged in this study. We argue on ethical grounds that provincial drug plans should guarantee cost-free access to antiretroviral therapies for people living with HIV with minimal administrative requirements.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / economics*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Canada
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Deductibles and Coinsurance*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • National Health Programs
  • Qualitative Research


  • Anti-HIV Agents