More than 10,000 Islanders have registered for the PEI Generic Drug Program since it was introduced in October 2015, says Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson.
Minister Henderson said this positive early response indicates the plan is meeting a real need for uninsured Islanders under 65.
“Making access to prescription drugs more affordable remains a top government priority,” said the minister. “When we make it easier for Islanders to get their medications and take them as prescribed, they are more likely to get well and avoid later health issues. It also means lower cost to the health system as a result of reduced ER use, physician visits and hospital admissions.”
Through the Generic Drug Plan, Islanders under 65 who do not have private drug coverage, pay a maximum of $19.95 for a generic drug prescription.
Cathy McHugh, pharmacist at the Medicine Shoppe in O’Leary, said her customers continue to register online or pick up applications at the pharmacy. “Many of our customers are now using the program and they are telling us they appreciate the assistance, especially those who are on several medications and may try to make their prescriptions stretch in order to save money,” she said. “Programs like this are especially helpful in rural areas where many people are self-employed or seasonal workers, and less likely to have a drug plan at work.”
Minister Henderson said 40 percent of the people already registered in the plan are between 50 and 65 years of age. “We are very pleased with the high uptake from this group,” he said. “This is an age when people may develop a medical condition and many struggle with the cost of their medications until they turn 65 and become eligible for the Seniors Drug Plan.”
Another 37 percent of the people now registered are under age 30. “This is another group we are trying to reach, young people who are no longer covered under their parents’ plan and not in the workforce long enough to be eligible for drug coverage.”
It is easy to apply online at www.healthpei.ca/genericdrugs or in person at Access PEI locations, pharmacies, physician offices or pharmacare offices. There is no documentation required. Islanders are encouraged to apply now so they are registered when they need a prescription.