Mr. Speaker, today I’m pleased to announce that soon, Islanders will have better access to high cost medications.
Effective November 23rd, 10 new medications will be added to the provincial drug formulary.
Through a new $1.4 million investment, the new drugs will improve treatment and lower the cost of drugs for patients with:
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Gastrointestinal infection
- Cystic fibrosis
- Vitreomacular adhesion (eye disorder)
- and people who require smoking cessation therapy.
Mr. Speaker, for many Islanders, their quality of life is tied to their medications.
We are committed to expanding access to medications and drug cost assistance programs – to improve health, reduce financial barriers, and allow patients to focus on getting well.
Of the 10 new medications added, five are cancer drugs.
Mr. Speaker, recommendations to add drugs to the formulary are made by the Provincial Drug and Therapeutics Committee – which prioritizes medications based on their clinical benefits and impact on Islanders.
Recommendations to add cancer drugs are made by an Oncology subcommittee which consists of PEI cancer experts who make decisions based on the needs of Island cancer patients.
Our government values the dedicated work of the committee members who prioritize medications that are of greatest need to Islanders.
Mr. Speaker, government has taken several steps in recent years to improve access to new medications and make them affordable.
In April, we added 18 new medications to the provincial formulary.
Last month, we launched the PEI Generic Drug Program for uninsured Islanders under age 65.
And in 2013, we introduced the Catastrophic Drug Program for Islanders with high medication costs.
Mr. Speaker, when we came to government, there were 300 nationally approved drugs not covered on our provincial formulary.
Since then we have added more than 250 drugs.
And it is our intent to finally close this gap and achieve regional parity within the next 24 months.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.