Representatives from the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and the University of Alberta Students' Union are voicing concerns regarding the province's plans to opt out of the federal pharmacare program.

The program would allow every Canadian with a health-care card to access free birth control and diabetes medication.

The students' union says many students are dealing with profound affordability challenges.

"For the students who are already struggling to afford textbooks and to stay in school, I think anything that could make life cheaper or more affordable is a welcome sign," said Chris Beasley, the union's vice president external.

The federal government is rolling out a universal pharmacare plan that will soon allow Canadians to receive free birth control and diabetes medication – a plan the UCP government does not want to participate in.

"They’re looking to provide something different which adds bureaucracy and administrative burdens on top of what we already have, so give us the dollars and we’ll use them in those areas," Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said.

The president of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce says the decision hurts the business community too, where between 15 to 30 per cent of payroll costs go toward benefits and health care.

"We're just encouraging them to explore the details, see what it is and then come back and talk to the business community and Albertans to see what we say," Doug Griffiths told CTV News Edmonton.

"The solution to this is going to come when students can afford the medication that they need," Beasley added.