Nine cancer medicines added to Prince Edward Island drug programs

Published on May 9, 2014
CETA drugs

Nine additional cancer medications are now being funded through public drug programs in Prince Edward Island.

Five of the drugs are being made available through the high-cost drug program and the catastrophic drug program. Four of them are now available through the hospital drug program.

Vesanoid, Tasigna, Neupogen and Xalkori are now included in the high-cost and catastrophic drug program. Temodal (Temozolomide), which was already covered through the catastrophic drug program has now been added to the high-cost drug program.   Trisenox, Yervoy and two indications of Treanda have been added to the hospital formulary.

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Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie said the province added these treatments as a result of work to modernize the provincial drug programs, such as lowering the cost of generic drugs.

“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,” said the minister. “Making medications more affordable and accessible is a priority for our government, whether it’s through reducing the cost of generic drugs or expanding drug coverage through our publicly funded programs.”

Lori Barker, executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society, P.E.I. Division, says her organization is pleased with the move. 

“With the addition of these new drugs, it is clear that the Department of Health and Wellness recognizes the financial pressures faced by cancer patients and their families,” said Barker. “We remain optimistic that these formularies will continue to be expanded upon in the months and years to come.”

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.

“Health P.E.I. and the department are developing a process that allows for expensive medications to be reviewed by a drugs and therapeutic committee and added to the list of publicly funded drugs in a timely fashion,” said Dr. Philip Champion, medical director of the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre.

 

Additions to the High Cost and Catastrophic Drug Programs include:

Leukemia:

• Vesanoid (Tretinoin, ATRA)

• Tasigna (Nilotinib)

Lung cancer:

• Xalkori (Crizotinib)

Brain tumors:

• *Temodal (Temozolomide)

 *This medication was already covered through the Catastrophic Drug Program but it has now been added to the High Cost Drug Program.

Supportive treatment for cancer patients:

• Neupogen (Filgrastim)

Note:  Patients must meet clinical criteria to be eligible for each of the above drugs

 

 

Additions to the Hospital Formulary include:

Leukemia:

• Trisenox (Arsenic Trioxide)

Skin cancer:

• Yervoy (Ipilimumab)

Lymphoma:

• Treanda (Bendamustine) – Two indications

Note:  Patients must meet clinical criteria to be eligible for each of the above drugs