When the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Government of Alberta put a 30-day limit on prescription drug refills in order to make sure there were enough for everyone in case the pandemic went on for longer than expected.
As of June 15th, the provincial government is waving that ban and allowing Albertans to receive larger quantities of their prescription drugs again, up to a 100-day supply. They say conditions have improved in the ever-evolving situation that is the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pharmacists continue to work tirelessly on the front lines, and we thank them for their efforts. We are confident that now is the time to adjust our guidance to help Albertans make fewer visits to pharmacies and to support pharmacists in reducing the volume of prescriptions to fill.”
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health.
While supply levels appear to be returning to normal, pharmacists can still use their discretion and professional judgment and only dispense a 30-day supply when necessary if there is a shortage or supply chain issue with that specific drug.
- Pharmacists in Alberta can begin to dispense larger quantities again, up to a 100-day supply, starting on June 15.
- While supply levels may be stabilizing, supply pressures continue for certain drugs. Pharmacists are advised to use their judgment and dispense a maximum 30-day supply of drugs that are affected by shortages or supply chain issues.
- For government-sponsored drug plan members, drugs unaffected by shortages or supply chain issues will be dispensed at the usual rates and rules. This means that government-sponsored drug plan members will pay the normal maximum $25 copayment.
- Drugs that have shortages or supply chain issues can be subject to a discretionary 30-day supply limit. Government-sponsored drug plan members will continue to pay a maximum copayment of $8 for these drugs.
- To find out if a specific drug is affected by a shortage or supply chain issue, people are encouraged to ask their pharmacist when they have their prescriptions filled.
- 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