PC Party leader Olive Crane and Conservative candidate Gary Bowness announce their party’s commitment to a catastrophic drug plan at a pharmacy in Crapaud Friday.
CRAPAUD - PC Party leader Olive Crane says she will implement a catastrophic drug plan if elected.
Crane was in Crapaud Friday where she said she would implement the plan within the first two years of her mandate.
"We will ensure the over 35,000 Islanders currently without drug coverage will not continue to fall through the cracks," she said.
PC candidates Neila Auld and Gary Bowness joined Crane for the announcement.
Crane expects the plan to cost an additional $3 million per year on top of the costs associated with the province's current drug payment assistance plans.
P.E.I. and New Brunswick are the only two provinces that don’t have catastrophic drug programs, while the Yukon is the only territory without one.
Most of the other provinces pay varying amounts based on income levels.
Crane’s announcement came the day after the P.E.I. Health Charities Network held a news conference asking the leaders of each political party to commit to a catastrophic drug plan.
Premier Robert Ghiz has repeatedly said a catastrophic drug program would be too expensive for the province to pay for alone and he is looking for help from the federal government.
But Crane said a Conservative government won’t wait for help from the federal government.
“This issue for a drug program is one of equal access,” she said.
P.E.I. has a high-cost drug program to help Islanders cover some of the costs of medications, but it doesn’t cover everyone or every medication.
Under the province’s current system there are 27 programs patients can apply to for help paying for expensive medication, but Crane said her plan will combine all of those programs into one.
“What we’re talking about is streamlining the program and make sure it’s efficient and that the patient, the person that needs the help can go deal with one source and only one source,” she said.
Crane said the program will be based on income.
“It will ensure that people that need their medication will not be turned away because they do not have the dollars to afford the medications,” she said.
The exact details of the exact model of service delivery have yet to be determined and Crane said those details will be worked out with stakeholders once the Conservatives are in power.
Crane said the program will cover any drugs doctors deem medically necessary.
“What we’re saying is that you will have a program that will cover you so that you will be able to access that medication no matter what that medication is,” she said.