CHARLOTTETOWN – Prince Edward Island has added nine new cancer medications to the list of drugs it will cover.
Five of the drugs are being made available through the High Cost Drug Program and the Catastrophic Drug Program and four more are now available through the Hospital Drug Program.
The additional cost of the nine drugs is approximately $715,000.
The province said it’s finding this extra money through savings found in the public drug program, such as reducing the price of generic drugs.
Health Minister Doug Currie said these medications will go a long way on the Island, which has one of the highest cancer rates in the nation.
“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 Currie.
“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, PEI Division, welcomed the news.
“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 Lori Barker, executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society, P.E.I. division. “We remain optimistic that these formularies will continue to be expanded upon in the months and years to come.”
According to the provincial government, since 2006-2007, spending on Pharmacare programs has increased by more than 40 per cent, and government has added or expanded coverage of 212 medications to the list of drugs available through provincial drug programs.
Additions to the High Cost and Catastrophic Drug Programs include:
• Vesanoid (Tretinoin, ATRA)
• Tasigna (Nilotinib)
• Xalkori (Crizotinib)
• *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:
• Trisenox (Arsenic Trioxide)
• Yervoy (Ipilimumab)
• Treanda (Bendamustine) – Two indications