Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide
The Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT) provides coverage of prescription drugs through Alberta Blue Cross. People need to have a Health Care Card before they can apply for drug coverage. People who do not have a health card can contact the NWT Health Care Plan.
In the NWT, there are three programs that help eligible residents cover the cost of their prescription drugs:
- Covers the total cost of eligible health services and prescription drugs, including hepatitis C medications, for indigenous Métis residents.
- Covers a portion or the total cost of prescription drugs and dental care for NWT residents who are 65 and older.
- Covers a portion or the total cost of prescription drugs for people living with certain diseases and conditions. People can apply for Extended Health Benefits to cover the cost of their hepatitis C medications.
Registered First Nations and recognized Inuit people may be able to access coverage for their hepatitis C medications through the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program.
NIHB is a federal program that provides eligible First Nations and Inuit people with coverage for many prescription drugs and health services. People can contact NIHB by phone or mail at:
Non-Insured Health Benefits – Northwest Territories and Nunavut Region
2720 Riverside Drive
Address Locator: 6604C
Coverage for Hepatitis C Medications
In the NWT, coverage for hepatitis C medications varies depending on an individual's prescription drug program.
Income Assistance (IA) recipients can speak to their case workers to find out about getting their medications covered through their IA health benefits. If people do not have prescription drug coverage, they can apply for Extended Health Benefits (EHB) by completing an EHB application form. A letter will be sent to applicants informing them if their hepatitis C medications will be covered through the EHB program.
The following hepatitis C medications are included in the NIHB formulary, a list of drugs that are eligible for coverage by both the NWT government and Health Canada:
- peg-interferon and ribavirin
- Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir)
- Holkira Pak (dasabuvir and paritaprevir/ritonavir/ombitasvir)
- simeprevir (taken in combination with peg-interferon and ribavirin)
- sofosbuvir (taken in combination with peg-interferon and/or ribavirin)
These hepatitis C medications are considered of Limited Use Benefit and require approval before they will be covered by Alberta Blue Cross or NIHB. People must have their specialist submit a written request to Alberta Blue Cross or NIHB for approval. If the request is approved, people will have their medications covered for up to one full course of treatment.
Some of the factors that are considered when approving funding for hepatitis C medications include:
- whether or not an individual is living with chronic hepatitis C
- level of fibrosis
- HCV genotype
- a positive HCV RNA test
- whether or not an individual is treatment naïve
For more information about programs that may be able to help cover the costs of hepatitis C medications, contact the NWT Department of Health and Social Services at 1-800-661-0830.