Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy

Why a pharmaceutical strategy?

In December 2008, Alberta Health and Wellness announced the Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy. This strategy is being implemented in 2 phases and is designed to help make drug coverage more accessible, sustainable and affordable for all Albertans.

Phase 2

Phase 2, announced October 20, 2009, focuses on generic drug prices and expanding the roles of pharmacists.

Phase 2 of the strategy includes:

  1. Reducing the price of generic drugs –
    • Prices for new generic drugs will be reduced from 75% of a brand name drug price to 45%.
  2. Providing faster access to new, innovative drugs and reduce costs –
    • Alberta will negotiate contracts, known as product listing agreements, with brand name drug manufacturers.
  3. Expanding the role of pharmacists to better meet the needs of patients –
    • Government will work closely with Alberta pharmacists and pharmacies to have pharmacists spend more time using their knowledge and skill to counsel and advise patients.
  4. A comprehensive transition plan, which includes $5 million for rural and remote pharmacies and a transitional allowance for all pharmacies for 3 years –
    • Developed to help support pharmacies as they shift their focus from dispensing prescription drugs to providing more professional services.

Fact sheets – Phase 2, updated January 28, 2010 

Phase 1

Phase 1, announced December 2008, focuses on the seniors’ drug plan, non-group coverage, rare diseases and an improved drug approval process.

Phase 1, focuses on:

  1. Improving drug coverage for seniors
  2. Adjusting non-group coverage premiums to reflect current market rates
  3. Establishing a single, government-sponsored drug plan with a common drug list
  4. Introducing a program to cover catastrophic drug costs for Albertans with rare diseases;and
  5. Creating a more timely and transparent drug review process

Fact sheets – Phase 1

Seniors’ drug program delayed

Proposed changes to the seniors’ drug program, which were scheduled to become effective on July 1, 2010, have been delayed.

This postponement will provide government with more time to make necessary legislative and regulatory changes and to ensure the program aligns with other government programs for seniors.

During the interim, the current seniors' drug program will remain available to all Albertans 65 years and older. Seniors with this coverage will continue to pay a co-payment of 30% of each prescription's cost to a maximum of $25 per prescription. The program will continue to provide coverage for prescription drugs, ambulance services, clinical psychological services, and home nursing care.

Seniors with questions about their current coverage should contact Alberta Blue Cross.

More information