Madam Speaker, Islanders are all too familiar with the burden of cancer.
That’s why the Department of Health and Wellness and Health PEI have made important progress in providing cancer services. These include:
Cancer Treatment Centre;
Colorectal Cancer Screening Program;
Recruitment of oncologists;
Cancer Patient Navigator and Provincial Cancer Coordinator;
Provincial Cancer Steering Committee, tasked with developing a three-year continuation of the existing cancer strategy; and
Legislation, such as amendments to the Smoke Free Places Act, and restrictions to tanning bed use
Madam Speaker, Islanders living with cancer now have better access to affordable drugs.
Nine additional cancer medications are now being funded through public drug programs.
These drugs will be available through the High Cost Drug Program, Catastrophic Drug Program, or Hospital Drug Program.
Ensuring Islanders have access to the medications they need will help reduce the burden of cancer and allow patients to focus more on their recovery.
I want to thank the leadership of Dr. Champion and Dr. Bergen for their work with the Department to develop a process that allows important, yet very expensive, medications to be added to our public drug programs more quickly.
The additional cost of the nine drugs is approximately $715,000.
This investment will be realized as a result of the savings found through modernizing the public drug program, such as reducing the price of generic drugs.
Madam Speaker, Lori Barker and Ken Hubley of the Canadian Cancer Society, PEI Division, are here in the gallery today.
I also want to thank their organization for the work it does on behalf of Islanders with cancer; I look forward to continuing to work with the Cancer Society for the benefit of Islanders.
Madam Speaker, speaking personally, I’m really pleased with the progress that’s been made on this file. I know the burden of cancer on families.
Two years ago when I became Minister of Health, we were challenged with funding expensive, yet important drugs like these.
I’m pleased that Islanders now have access to these drugs that can help them live longer and with a higher quality of life.