Alberta Provides More Accessible Drug Coverage
Proposed legislation that will enable government to implement announced changes to government drug programs was introduced in the Legislature in Alberta on April 29. Bill 34, the Drug Program Act, will provide a legislative framework for the initiatives included in phase one of the Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy, including the recently revised seniors’ drug plan.
Phase one of the strategy, announced in December 2008, includes establishing a single, government-sponsored drug plan, improving the transparency of the drug approval process, introducing a drug coverage program to help Albertans with extremely rare diseases, adjusting premiums for drug coverage for Albertans under 65 years of age who are registered with government's non-group program and redesigning drug coverage for seniors to provide greater support for those with low incomes.
“The pharmaceutical strategy is designed to make drug coverage more accessible and affordable to Albertans who need it most,” said Health and Wellness Minister Ron Liepert. “This legislation will make government’s role in providing drug coverage clearer for all Albertans and help secure better value from drugs in Alberta’s health system.”
The Act will enable important improvements to the drug approval process by creating an independent consideration process for Albertans who don’t respond to standard drug therapy, making more information about drug coverage decisions available to Albertans, and supporting drug review committee structures like the Expert Committee on Drug Evaluation and Therapeutics and a new public members’ committee.