Prescription drug information
Updated: January 20, 2021
The Canadian Pharmacists Association encourages Canadians to have common non-prescription medications for cold, fever and allergies on hand and ensure their prescriptions are up-to-date.
Alberta Blue Cross® is facilitating payment to pharmacies on behalf of Alberta Health to now provide service for screening and providing information about COVID-19 to patients. This new service allows pharmacists to claim an assessment fee of up to $20 to a maximum of five claims per pharmacy per day.
Health Canada expects to offer free vaccinations to every Canadian who wants one. With no anticipated cost associated with vaccination, there is currently no need for the COVID-19 vaccine to be covered under your Alberta Blue Cross® benefit plan.
Pharmacists have been working hard to manage drug supplies and make sure Albertans have access to the medications they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of June 15, pharmacists in Alberta can begin to give out up to a 100-day supply of prescriptions in accordance with updated direction from the Government of Alberta.
While supply levels appear to be returning to normal, some drugs are still in limited supply. Pharmacists should use their professional judgment and dispense a 30-day supply when necessary for specific drugs that continue to have shortages or supply chain issues.
The government has recognized that this may mean you will be required to fill prescriptions more often, so they have implemented program changes to mitigate against out-of-pocket expenses for the Coverage for Seniors and Non-Group Coverage programs.
Those with Coverage for Seniors and Non-Group Coverage will pay a lower co-payment of up to $8 per prescription. The current co-payment is up to $25 per prescription for up to 100-day supply.
Alberta Blue Cross® plan members with coverage through employer-group sponsored benefit plans and individual health plans whose plans currently provide 90 to 100 days maximum days’ supply are encouraged to follow the advice and counsel of their pharmacist regarding the 30 days’ supply restriction for certain medications.
To find out if a specific drug is affected by a shortage or supply chain issue, you are encouraged to ask your pharmacist when filling your prescriptions.
Albertans can access information on specific drug shortages at the Drug Shortages Canada website, where companies are required to report all actual and anticipated shortages within specific time frames. Health Canada has also published a list of critical drugs that are in high demand or in shortage. A list will also be available for pharmacies on the Alberta Blue Cross® website.
While non-essential travel outside the province is still not recommended, coverage for up to 200-days’ supply for those leaving the province may be provided. Your pharmacist can determine if your medication is eligible by submitting a claim. Individuals requesting a longer supply of their medications from their pharmacists should be aware that pharmacists will continue to use their professional judgment and dispense a limited supply when necessary for specific drugs that continue to have shortages or supply chain issues.