10 new medications are being added to the provincial drug formulary this month to improve treatment and lower the cost of drugs for patients, says Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie.
These drugs will benefit more than 200 patients with cancer, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, gastrointestinal infection, cystic fibrosis, vitreomacular adhesion (eye disorder) and those who require smoking cessation therapy.
“For many Islanders, their quality of life is tied to their medications,” he said. “With this $1.4 million investment, we are continuing to create access to new medications and to make them more affordable, so patients can focus on getting well.”
Effective November 23, 2015, the following medications will be added to the provincial formulary:
Cancer: Alimta (Mesothelioma), Alimta (lung cancer), Pomalyst, Revlimid, Vidaza
Cystic Fibrosis: HyperSal 7%
Gastrointestinal infection: Dificid
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: Concerta/Biphentin
Vitreomacular adhesion (eye condition): Jetrea
Smoking cessation therapy: Champix
Recommendations to add drugs to the provincial formulary are made by the Provincial Drug and Therapeutics Committee (PD&T) based on their clinical benefits and impact on Islanders. Recommendations to add cancer drugs are made by an Oncology subcommittee of the PD&T. The subcommittee is comprised of PEI cancer experts who recommend nationally approved cancer drugs, based on the needs of Island cancer patients.
“Our government has been very proactive in adding drugs to the formulary, developing drug cost assistance programs, and expanding access to medications through new drug pricing initiatives,” Minister Currie said. “When we came to government, there were 300 nationally approved drugs not covered on our provincial formulary. Since then we have added more than 250 drugs. It our intent to finally close this gap and achieve regional parity within 24 months.”
Patients must meet clinical criteria and be registered with provincial drug programs to be eligible for drug cost assistance.
This is the second time this year that new drugs have been added to the formulary. In April 2015, government added 18 new medications. A new Generic Drug Program was launched in September to provide coverage for uninsured Islanders under age 65. The Catastrophic Drug Program was introduced in 2013 to provide coverage for Islanders with high medication costs.