GNWT to fund birth control drug for uninsured residents

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has announced that it will now financially cover the cost of a birth control drug for residents with a valid NWT Health Care Card who do not have full coverage for prescriptions under another program or group insurance plan.

Mifegymiso is a prescription drug administered through the Northern Options for Women (NOW) Program in Yellowknife and Inuvik and is used to terminate pregnancies up to nine weeks gestation, according to a news release from the government

In November of last year, Glen Abernethy, Minister of Health and Social Services, committed to making Mifegymiso available without cost to women who do not have access to government or employer-sponsored health benefits.

Health Canada recently announced that it had relaxed the requirement for an initial ultrasound before Mifegymiso can be prescribed.

However, this change does not eliminate the need for health care providers to know the accurate date of the pregnancy, or change other necessary requirements to minimize patient risk with taking this drug.

For example, a person must have access to emergency medical treatment for two weeks after taking the drug in case of serious complications.

The Department of Health and Social Services and the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority states that they are currently working on putting protocols and processes in place to possibly expand access to the NOW Program to communities other than Yellowknife and Inuvik.

Until these protocols and procedures are in place, the department will cover the medical travel costs for residents residing outside of Yellowknife and Inuvik if the patient, in consultation with their medical practitioner, feels that this treatment is the right choice for them.

For more information on Mifegymiso, visit


About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.