Alberta's budget brings with it a new drug program.

PharmaCare, which is designed for the 20 per cent of Albertans who don't have drug coverage, will take existing drug programs and merge them into one.


Health Minister Fred Horne says PharmaCare will save Alberta more than $220 million in the next two years. (CBC)

Health Minister Fred Horne says the program, which is expected to start in January, will save the province $45 million in 2014 and $181 million in 2015.

"Part of the savings come from the fact that those who can afford to pay a bit more will pay more, of course" Horne said. "Because on the other side of it we're opening up our coverage to more people — 20 per cent of us today who don't have it.

"It will involve access based on a person's health-care need, not their age, not the community they live in [or] the government program that is [currently] serving them."

Coverage will be determined by a person's income.

Rachel Notley, the seniors critic for the NDP, says savings shouldn't be made at the expense of seniors.

"Yes, we're asking slightly more of seniors to pay more," Notley said, "but the people who will pay the most are the sickest, the people who need the drugs the most."