Changes to PharmaNet, ARV Prescriptions

As of May 4, 2020, pharmacies started to enter ARV prescriptions into PharmaNet

PharmaNet is a province-wide (British Columbia) computerized system for recording all your prescriptions. It holds the record of all prescriptions dispensed from community pharmacies in BC as well as prescriptions dispensed from hospital outpatient pharmacies for patient use at home. (If you get prescriptions filled in BC, you have a record in Pharmanet)

ARVs have not always been entered into pharmanet as many PLHIV were concerned about privacy and keeping their HIV status confidential.

Why is this change happening?

  • Per Section 11.4 of the Health Professions Act – Bylaws Schedule F. 11 (4) states that a full pharmacist must review the patient’s personal health information stored on the PharmaNet database before dispensing a drug and take appropriate action if necessary, with respect to any concern regarding the appropriateness of the drug or any drug therapy problem.
  • HIV/AIDs patients are living longer and as such may face increasing co-morbidities and associated drug therapies, putting them at risk of significant drug interactions which may diminish therapeutic effectiveness of ARVs or lead to adverse drug events.
  • The current COVID-19 pandemic highlights that pharmacists and other health professionals rely heavily on the medication information in PharmaNet to provide safe care; health care providers cannot act on information they do not have. Those with HIV/AIDs should benefit from the same safety advantages that all other patients receive.

Who Can See My ARVs On PharmaNet?
“Access to PharmaNet is strictly controlled. All health care professionals and/or their organizations (such as hospitals) have to apply for access to PharmaNet and every user has to sign confidentiality undertakings before they are granted access.”

“Normally, any health care professional who has been granted access to PharmaNet can view a patient’s demographic and medication information. They cannot view a patient’s Fair PharmaCare coverage (i.e., what their deductible is and/or how much of that deductible has been met).”

How Do I protect My Privacy?
You can password protect your PharmaNet Record. You can limit access to your information (and, in some cases, another person’s information) in PharmaNet by applying a protective word. The protective word [password] acts as a lock; only a practitioner with the protective word can unlock the record to view and/or update its contents. You can also apply to have the protective word changed or removed.

Note: You cannot restrict access to just one part of your record (e.g., you cannot prevent people from viewing certain kinds of prescriptions recorded in your medication history). Your entire record is either locked or not.

Adding a Protective word
The easiest way to add a protective word to your PharmaNet record is at your community pharmacy

  1. Provide the pharmacist with acceptable proofs of your identity.
  2. Create a protective word that meets the rules
  3. Give the pharmacist your protective word to attach to your PharmaNet record.

The pharmacist will apply the protective word to your record. It will take effect immediately.


Complete, sign and submit the form at the following link:

more information on PharmaNet and adding protective word (password):

VPWAS Peer Navigators and Support Volunteers are available to assist you in setting up a password.

205 – 1120 Yates Street, Victoria BC
250.382.7927 / 1.877.382.7927

Vancouver Island Persons Living With HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS) 205 - 1120 Yates Street, Coast Salish Territories, Victoria, BC. V8V 3M9
Phone: 250.382.7927 | Fax: 250.382.3232 | Toll Free: 1.877.382.7927 | | | Login