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 https://www.nthssa.ca/en/services/options-nordiques-pour-les-femmes-now/what-expect.