‘We want to break down those barriers’: Group calls for contraceptive coverage in Manitoba’s Pharmacare program

A group of Manitobans are demanding that all contraceptives, including pills and IUDs, be included in the province’s Pharmacare program.

Access MB said cost is the biggest barrier to contraceptive use in Canada, adding that many people have to pay out of pocket because they don’t have drug insurance or their insurance doesn’t cover contraceptives, or they want to get contraceptives without that their parents know.

Access Manitoba said making all prescription contraceptives free under the Manitoba Pharmacare program would remove stigma and financial barriers.

“Not only women use contraceptives. Transgender and non-binary people also need access to contraception, and there’s a stigma attached to that,” said Paige Mason, a volunteer at Access MB, which is currently adding places like France and the Netherlands to full or partial contraceptive coverage.

“We want to break down those barriers for everyone and show that this is an inclusive movement and we need to be aware of the different socio-economic factors.”

Access MB is asking the government to cover the cost of all types of contraceptives under Pharmacare.

In a statement to CTV News, a provincial spokesman said Manitoba Health has an income-based Pharmacare program to help Manitoba residents.

“In addition, individuals who receive assistance from Manitoba’s Employment and Income Assistance program have their deductibles covered, making these products available to them at no cost,” the spokesman said.

“In addition, service organizations also supply contraceptives as they have several programs that offer women free contraception, including Mount Carmel Clinic and Women’s Health Clinic.”

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