Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has added Mifegymiso to their Prescription drug coverage.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) administers the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). The program provides limited, temporary health coverage for protected persons, including resettled refugees, refugee claimants, and certain other groups who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance. This includes coverage for most prescription medications and other products listed on provincial or territorial public drug plan formularies and is provided through Medavie Blue Cross.

However, while they added Mifegymiso to their list, this coverage remains limited to only those provinces/territories that have added it to their formulary, as coverage via IFHP depends on provincial and territorial formularies.

Provinces with Mifegymiso on their formularies: BC, AB, SK, MN, QC, NB, NS

Provinces and territories that do NOT have Mifegymiso on their formularies: ON, NL, PEI, YK, NWT, Nu

This gap has come to our attention as, while it is most often the case that a province / territory will add a medication to a formulary as a necessary step to implementing full cost coverage, an issue is arising in provinces like Ontario which have implemented universal cost coverage for Mifegymiso but have not added it to the formulary (a prerequisite to access the medication through the prescription drug coverage of IFHP). In some instances, prescribers may be able to bill IFHP directly if they dispense the medication as oppose to send the client to the pharmacy to pick up their prescription.

 

Barriers to Access

We encourage the government to:

 

Many factors impact the health of newcomers to Canada as well as their access to health care. These include but are not limited to: precarious immigration status that prevents people from accessing public healthcare (including coverage by the IFHP in the first place), economic barriers, language barriers, racism and harmful assumptions as well as mental health issues exacerbated by migration and discrimination.

In addition to those systemic barriers to health care, in June 2012, major cuts were made to the IFHP by the then federal government which was later ruled a charter rights violation. Although access to healthcare through the IFHP has since been reinstated for most refugees and refugee claimants, there remains confusion about who is eligible and difficulties in processing claims under the IFHP have resulted in some healthcare providers turning away eligible patients and denying them care.

1. Ensure the equitable, easy and timely access to a comprehensive package of reproductive and sexual health services (including medical abortion) for all people covered by the IFHP (regardless of whether they are residing in a province or territory that has implemented Mifegymiso cost coverage) by listing medical abortion as part of the basic coverage package instead of listing Mifegymiso on the prescription drug coverage.

2. Actively address barriers to newcomers accessing health care in Canada, including measures and programs causing delays in coverage of health care services and goods.

3. Implement measures to encourage and support health care providers’ participation in the program.

4. Develop education pieces for health care providers on best practices for treating people covered by the IFHP.

5. Work with Medavie/Blue Cross to create a more streamlined way to make claims or educate health practitioners on this as well as ensure transparency and collaboration with practitioners and Medavie/Blue Cross.

6. Ensure pharmacies have the resources and training needed to provide, process and bill for prescribed medication covered by IFHP.

7. Fund Interpretation services and system navigation assistance programs, including peer navigator programs.