Prescription drug program – Reviews and approvals

Drug review process

Alberta's drug review process is described in detail in Section 1 of the Alberta Health Drug Benefit List.

Alberta is a participant in the national Common Drug Review. The Common Drug Review (CDR) is a single process for reviewing new drugs and providing listing recommendations to participating publicly funded drug benefit plans in Canada. The CDR consists of:

  • A systematic review of the available clinical evidence and a review of the pharmaco-economic evaluation; and
  • A listing recommendation made by the Canadian Expert Drug Advisory Committee (CEDAC).

Alberta's Expert Committee on Drug Evaluation and Therapeutics (ECDET) must review all drug products not eligible for review by CDR. It provides advice and recommendations to the Minister concerning the therapeutic value and cost-effectiveness of the drugs.

The Minister of Health makes the final decisions on the changes to the Alberta Drug Benefit List based on a number of considerations, including recommendations from CEDAC or ECDET.

In recognition of the fact that there are times when there is a need to reconsider drugs that were not approved through the aforementioned process, Alberta Health has developed an alternate mechanism by which drugs that have not been listed through the CDEC and ECDET review processes may be reconsidered for coverage, known as product listing agreements.