P.E.I. gets 10 new drugs

Ryan Ross
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The list of medications on the provincial funding formulary is a little longer with the addition of 10 drugs starting in January.

Health Minister Doug Currie made the announcement Thursday and said the government was able to add the drugs thanks to changes to generic drug rebates at Island pharmacies.

"It's basically a re-investment of savings from the generic drug pricing so that we're re-investing back in the formulary," he said.

The medications added to the formulary fall under different funding programs and include Votrient, which is used to treat a type of kidney cancer, along with three medications to treat HIV.

The other drugs treat asthma, rosacea, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, overactive bladder and pain associated with endometriosis.

Currie said the costs of the drugs range from $1,000 to more than $50,000.

"Certainly it's another positive step forward," he said.

Although the provincial government will spend $33.4 million on the drug programs this fiscal year there is more work to be done, Currie said and added he hopes the province will move to a catastrophic drug program at some point.

"That's the ultimate objective," he said.

In response to the announcement, Alana Leard, executive director of AIDS P.E.I., said the addition of the medication to treat HIV was a good move because increased access to treatment options is important for people who live with the disease.

"It's a great step," she said.

The addition of the HIV drugs is expected to affect about 55 people.

Lori Barker, executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society in P.E.I., also said the additional drugs on the formulary were a step in the right direction.

"We're always pleased to see when new drugs are added for any disease," she said.

Even with the latest additions, Barker said the Canadian Cancer Society still thinks there is a need for a more comprehensive drug program in P.E.I.

Barker said P.E.I. and New Brunswick are the only provinces without comprehensive catastrophic drug plans.

"That needs to change to ensure Islanders have access to the medications they need without a financial burden," she said.

Votrient, which falls under the high-cost drug category, costs patients $50,000 and the Canadian Cancer Society expects there will be about 30 people diagnosed with kidney cancer in P.E.I. this year.

Opposition Leader Olive Crane said it's great that people have access to more drugs on the formulary, but she still wants to see more done.

"The province really needs to have a catastrophic drug program," she said.

Crane said the government should make it a priority.

"It's needed," she said.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Canadian Cancer Society

Geographic location: P.E.I., Iceland, New Brunswick

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Recent comments

  • Darrin Deveau
    November 30, 2012 - 08:19

    It is about time PEI gets going on A Catstrophic Drug Care program. PEI is a pariah!! Soon to be the "one and only" province to not offer it to its residents. T obe honest we really need a NATIONAL Catstrophic Drug Care program as there are disparities between provinvicial programs..

  • Don't believe the Hype
    November 30, 2012 - 07:50

    A quick call to the Provincial Pharmacy shows that the information is right on their website folks. Guess it is easier to complain than actually look for the answers. http://healthpei.ca/formulary

  • Change
    November 29, 2012 - 23:54

    I think the addition of medicatons could be expanded more if the government decided to do what the quebec government does. Those people who are on financial assistance and cannot afford their medications or diapers for their babies should be exposed to random drug testing. I am sure if the government cut them off because they have enough money to buy illegal substances, our formulary would be one of the best in canada!

  • Emkae
    November 29, 2012 - 22:12

    There are 10 drugs referenced. Maybe a list of all the drugs would be prudent in this article, as it may apply to certain Islanders? Just thinking this might be relevant. Or is it like the gas tax...Don't tell anybody until the day before it goes into effect. And I thought it was my money these politicians were spending...Go figure.

  • SG
    November 29, 2012 - 21:35

    Are anti-depressants on the provincial funding formulary list?

    • Leslie
      November 30, 2012 - 06:43

      Yes, most antidepressants are covered under the formulary with the exception of a few of the newer ones which haven't been shown to be any more effective than the less expensive older ones

    • Just might make it . . . maybe.
      November 30, 2012 - 14:29

      Thankfully anti-depressants are on the provincial funding formulary list. Now, if they just add cannabis and rum I think I may make it to Monday, October 5, 2015. Hmmm, maybe I'll also call Doug Currie to drive me to the voting booth in his new taxpayer bought new car. Naw, I'd vomit in the back seat, so I'd rather walk . . .