Premier Robert Ghiz
Island MLAs could soon be hearing more about drug costs as the Canadian Cancer Society’s P.E.I. division tries to put pressure on the government to implement a catastrophic drug plan.
Lori Barker, the society’s executive director, said her group still gets calls on a regular basis from people who are experiencing huge financial burdens because of their cancer diagnosis.
“This is not an issue that’s going away,” she said.
To keep the pressure on the government, the society and its partners in the P.E.I. Health Charities Network are asking Islanders to contact their MLAs to ask for a catastrophic drug plan.
P.E.I. and New Brunswick are the only provinces that don’t have catastrophic drug plans, although New Brunswick Premier David Alward has committed to bringing one it.
Premier Robert Ghiz has said he is confident his government will be able to implement one this year, but has yet to make to a firm commitment to it.
Barker said she is happy with the government’s optimism about bringing in a catastrophic drug plan, but if it keeps hearing from the public on the issue it will help.
“While we know that it’s important to them, we want to make sure that it remains important and a top priority,” she said.
Although the word catastrophic is often used in reference to the drug plan, Barker said what the people pushing for changes want is for no family to have to suffer financial hardship because of a diagnosis.
“If there’s ever an inability to cover the cost of drugs a plan should be in place to provide for it,” she said.
In a news release, opposition health critic Hal Perry praised the P.E.I. Health Charities Network for their work in trying to get a catastrophic drug plan for the province.
“It is completely unacceptable that 37,000 Islanders must make major sacrifices just to pay for their prescription medication,” he said.
Anyone who wants to send a message to their MLA can do so through www.campaignforcoverage.ca.