VICTORIA, B.C.- The government of British Columbia is set to offer universal, no-cost coverage for the drug Mifegymiso, effective January 15th.

The medication is an alternative to surgical abortions, and can be used to stop pregnancies at an early stage, up to nine weeks from the start of the last menstrual cycle.

Since July 11th, PharmaCare has covered Mifegymiso.

Patients under the Fair PharmaCare plan could face an out-of-pocket expense. The current price for the drug for people who do not have PharmaCare coverage is around $300. Come January 15th, the drug will be available for free.

In a release, the government said that removing the cost barrier helps ensure that individuals can access the safe, legal and available option if they choose.

Pharmacists are able to prescribe Mifegymiso to patients who have a valid prescription. Patients have to visit a physician or nurse practitioner for an ultrasound to make sure they do not have an ectopic pregnancy (when the pregnancy occurs outside the uterus).

The drug will be available at all participating pharmacies across British Columbia.

All pharmacies will have the option to order in the drug, if needed. That could take up to two business days to receive.

The government release stated that Mifegymiso will be available at pharmacies that are rural, remote or who have previously dispensed high volumes of the medication.

Mifegymiso is currently available at no cost in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.