Paying for Prescription Drugs When You Have No Money in Alberta

When you need to fill a prescription for a mental or physical health concern, and you do not have money to pay for it, there are a few options:

  • If it is an EMERGENCY you may qualify for funding under Alberta Emergency Precription Drugs or services through Alberta Emergency Benefits.

    Application for Emergency Prescriptions

    If it is not an emergency, but rather an ongoing need, you may qualify for the Alberta Works Health Benefits program.

  • Check out the AB Works Health Benefits BROCHURE.

    Income Support provides financial assistance to Albertans who do not have the resources to meet their basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter. Health benefits are provided: you will receive a Health Benefits Card through the Alberta Adult Health Benefit see details HERE.

  • AB works health benefits brochure pic 1.emf

    AB works health benefits brochure pic 2

    All new and returning eligible Alberta residents must register for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) coverage to receive insured hospital and physician services. Click HERE to learn more about what this covers.

  • There is a program to help people with low income pay for this coverage.

    AHCIP AHC Card Logo

    Ask your Doctor or Psychiatrist for the GENERIC (less expensive) version of the drug or the

    Least cost alternative (LCA)

    Do not be shy to explain your economic situation. Your Doctor may have samples they could provide you at no cost, depending on what your prescription is for. Doctors also tend to be very aware of the various costs for different prescriptions they could write and are often willing to find a more reasonably priced drug that will serve the same purpose in terms of your health.

  • If your Doctor is unsure of the available options, ask your Pharmacist to make an alternative recommendation BEFORE filling your prescription.
  • Employer Health Benefits Many Albertans have insurance coverage for prescription drugs provided through supplementary health plans sponsored by their employers. Your spouse or common law partner may have coverage that applies to you and your whole family. Usually, these plans are mandatory and you pay into them automatically off your cheque. Ask your employer for details.

  • Some people have coverage through publicly-funded supplementary plans offered by the provincial or federal governments: Alberta Blue Cross administers individual and group public benefit plans for Albertans. These plans give you access to coverage for specific prescription drugs listed HERE.  The premium (cost) is waived for those with a low income, but you have to APPLY. Look at the bottom of the page HERE to see if you qualify for FREE supplementary health benefits coverage. The application form is available HERE.

  • AB Cross

    If you have been diagnosed with Tuberculosis or a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI, STD) you can obtain free drugs. Read HERE for more information.

  • The Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL) program helps Albertans with a long-term disability, chronic illness or terminal illness to maintain their independence at home, in lodges or group homes by providing financial assistance to buy medical equipment and supplies.
  • LogoAADL

    Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program provides financial and health-related assistance to eligible adults with a disability. The disability must be permanent and substantially limit the person’s ability to earn a living. AISH clients may also be eligible to receive supplemental assistance (a child benefit and personal benefits) through the AISH program. See the AISH HEALTH BENEFITS TIP SHEET to learn about what is covered.

  • Children of families with low income may qualify to get free eyeglasses, prescriptions and dental visits through the Alberta Child Health Benefit plan.



As a last resort, you can call the company that manufactures the drug (the manufacturer, not the pharmacy) and ask if they have any available programs.

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions, try HERE.

AHS Aboriginal Health

If you are ABORIGINAL, there are additional options:

Alberta First Nations and Inuit Health programs and services.
Federal Programs and Services for Registered Indians
Aboriginal Non-Insured Health Benefits Access Guide is found HERE.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: