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April 30, 2010
For immediate release

Ten New Medications Added to the Provincial Drug Formulary

Health and Wellness

Hon. Carolyn Bertram, Minister of Health and Wellness, is pleased to announce new medications being added to the provincial drug formulary, effective July 1, 2010.

“These medications that will support hundreds of Islanders facing colorectal cancer, psoriatic arthritis, severe rheumatoid arthritis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, blood clots, macular degeneration, and ankylosing spondylitis,” said Minister Bertram.

The province is adding 10 new medications to the drug coverage program, which will improve the quality of life for Islanders. This year, the formulary budget will increase by over $1.3 million dollars.

Prince Edward Island is adding six high-cost drugs:

• Lucentis, for wet age-related macular degeneration

• Avastin, for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer

• Remicade, for ankylosing spondylitis

• Enbrel, for ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis

• Humira, for ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis

• Orencia, for severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Patients must meet established clinical criteria, and an income assessment will be completed to determine the co-pay amount for the high-cost drug program. In total, these high-cost medications will assist approximately 200 people on Prince Edward Island this fiscal year.

Health and Wellness Minister Carolyn Bertram also announced that the 323 Island patients, who are unable to use warfarin or heparin to prevent and treat blood clots, will now have access to Fragmin and Lovenox. These two new drugs will be available through four of our provincial drug programs to patients who meet the established clinical criteria.

Proscar and Avodart, medications for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), are also being added to the provincial formulary. It is estimated that approximately 150 Island patients will benefit from these medications. Proscar and Avodart will be available through four of our provincial drug programs to patients who meet the established clinical criteria.

Today’s announcement builds on the ongoing progress Government has been making since 2007 to improve the quality of health care in Prince Edward Island. Since 2007, Government has increased spending on drugs by 45%, to a total of $34.4 million this fiscal year.

“We are increasing our drug programs budget to address the rising financial demands of Islanders,” said Minister Bertram. “As Minister of Health and Wellness, I am committed to continue working to meet the health care needs of Islanders both for today and for the future.”

Patients receiving treatment should contact their physician to enquire about coverage for any of the medications announced today.

BACKGROUNDER

The following is a breakdown of medications that will be added to Prince Edward Island’s drug formulary, effective July 1, 2010. The condition for which the drug is prescribed is listed in brackets.

Coverage of the following medications will be provided through the High Cost Drugs program to patients who meet established clinical criteria. An income assessment will also be completed to determine the co-pay amount.

• Lucentis (Wet age-related macular degeneration)

• Avastin (Metastatic colorectal cancer)

• Enbrel (Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis)

• Humira (Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis)

• Remicade (Ankylosing Spondylitis)

• Orencia (Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Coverage of the following medications will be provided to patients who meet established clinical criteria and who qualify through the Family Health Benefit, Financial Assistance, Nursing Home, and Seniors Programs and meet established clinical criteria.

• Fragmin (Prevention and treatment of blood clots in patients unable to use warfarin and heparin)

• Lovenox (Prevention and treatment of blood clots in patients unable to use warfarin and heparin)

• Proscar (Benign Prostatic hyperplasia)

• Avodart (Benign Prostatic hyperplasia)

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Media Contact: Autumn Tremere
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