VANCOUVER — About 188,000 people have received free prescription contraception since British Columbia became the first province to offer it in April.
The province says in the first eight months of the program, about 123,000 people have received free pill contraceptives, while 30,000 got intrauterine devices — or IUDs — without cost.
About 37,000 people received emergency contraceptives through the program.
Premier David Eby made the announcement at a North Vancouver pharmacy and says 129,000 people also received prescriptions for minor ailments, such as allergies and shingles, through pharmacists since the province expanded their powers to prescribe medications on June 1.
Eby says the province estimates the free prescription contraceptive program will save a person about $300 a year on hormonal pills and $400 for one IUD.
B.C. announced its decision to provide free prescription contraception to all residents of the province in Finance Minister Katrine Conroy's budget speech in February.
A 2010 study estimated that the move would save the province about $95 million a year through reductions in abortions, prenatal visits and social supports.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2023.
The Canadian Press