Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island Announce Drug Plan Changes Coming into Effect on June 1, 2023
PEI to expand provincial drug coverage to make medication more affordable and accessible
CHARLOTTETOWN, PE, May 31, 2023 /CNW/ - No Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescription drugs and putting food on the table. Unfortunately, many are faced with this impossible decision every day. As part of the Improving Affordable Access to Prescriptions Drugs (IAAPD) program, supported by the Government of Canada, the Government of PEI will reduce Island residents' out-of-pocket costs on many prescription medicines.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada's Minister of Health, and the Honourable Mark V. McLane, Minister of Health and Wellness for Prince Edward Island (PEI), announced that as of June 1, 2023, PEI will expand its provincial drug coverage to reduce copays for almost 60% of medications regularly used by Island residents, and increase access to the provincial High-Cost Drug Program.
More specifically, these program changes will include:
- Reducing copays for commonly prescribed, eligible medications to $5 for residents covered under the Seniors Drug, the Family Health Benefit, as well as the Generic Drug and Diabetes Drug programs. This includes medications used to manage mental health, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and represents about 60% of prescriptions that Island residents use on a regular basis.
- Adjusting the High-Cost Drug Program to remove financial and administrative barriers for those in the lowest income brackets.
These latest improvements to the province's drug program mark another important milestone in improving the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs for Island residents that will result in better health outcomes for many. Details on PEI's support for the cost of prescription medication are available here.
Through this partnership with the Government of Canada, PEI is aiming to make further improvements to their drug programs, such as increasing coverage and simplifying access. Under the IAAPD, those who experience the most vulnerability, including uninsured Island residents, seniors, and families with high burden of medication cost, will benefit from improved access to medications.
"For too many Canadians, the cost of their medication is an additional barrier to accessing the health care they need. This partnership continues to improve access and affordability to essential medications for Island residents who need it the most. Together we can bring essential medications within reach for everyone who needs them on PEI while we continue our work toward improving access and affordability for all Canadians through a national pharmacare program."
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
"I am proud of the collaborative work of the federal and provincial governments in assisting Island residents to access the prescriptions they require while reducing some financial barriers. This is another step forward in improving accessibility and affordability of the medications and treatments that are needed most to improve residents' quality of life. No one should ever feel they are unable to access a prescription they need due to the cost."
The Honourable D. Mark V. McLane
Minister of Health and Wellness, Government of Prince Edward Island
"For too many people in PEI, the burden of prescription drug costs gets in the way of accessing vital health care. Today, I am thrilled that the expansion of our program means greater affordability for prescription drugs. The expanded program will ensure more Island residents in need can obtain essential medications and life-saving treatments."
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
"Island residents who need it most should have access to the essential medications they require to live a happy and healthy life. This announcement will further support the well-being of Island residents by removing financial barriers and providing access to treatment, improving the overall provincial healthcare system."
Dr. Michael Gardam
Chief Executive Officer at Health PEI
- With this agreement, PEI is receiving $35 million over four years (2021-22 to 2024-25) in federal funding to improve access to and make prescriptions drugs more affordable.
- This funding is in addition to the concrete steps the government is taking toward the implementation of national pharmacare, as outlined in Budget 2022.
- This announcement builds on previous changes made by the Government of PEI to improve access to medications, including the addition of 61 medications on its list of covered drugs. These improvements include medications used in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, migraine, multiple sclerosis, and pulmonary arterial hypertension.
- In June 2022, the Government of Canada and PEI announced a suite of substance use treatment medications to be available, at no cost, to Island residents under the Improving Affordable Access to Prescriptions Drugs program.
- In August 2022, PEI strengthened community mental health services with the addition of second generation long-acting antipsychotic medications, as requested by local care providers, to the Community Mental Health program. Other improvements include changes to special authorization requirements for 23 medications on the Pharmacare formulary that allowed greater ease of access for physicians seeking to provide medications to residents.
- In December 2022, the Government of Canada and PEI added another suite of medications to the PEI formulary, including two important medications, Zejula® (niraparib tosylate) and Lynparza® (olaparib), for treating ovarian cancer.
- In March 2023, the Government of Canada supported PEI in announcing the expansion of their provincial drug coverage to reduce Island residents' out-of-pocket costs on many prescription medicines. This included expanding access to the Catastrophic Drug Program and increase access to the High-Cost Drug Program.
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SOURCE Health Canada
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