Flaws in Catastrophic Drug Program need to be addressed: Opposition

CHARLOTTETOWN –  A lack of take up for the province’s Catastrophic Drug Program has the Official Opposition calling for the province to address barriers to access for this important service.

“This program was launched two years ago after much lobbying from health groups and the Opposition because there is a real need to support Islanders facing high drug costs for serious illnesses,” says Stratford-Kinlock MLA and Opposition Health Critic James Aylward. “At the time government estimated between five and seven thousand Islanders could benefit from this program so to see only a few hundred Islanders accessing this program two years later certainly raises questions about the program’s effectiveness,” says Aylward.

Aylward advised that he has written the Standing Committee on Health and Wellness requesting that the committee examine this issue in more depth, identify where the barriers to access are, and recommend strategies to government to address those barriers.

Progressive Conservative Leader Rob Lantz echoed calls for the province to examine how the Catastrophic Drug Program is being delivered.

“High drug costs for serious illnesses can be devastating for families both financially and emotionally and having an effective Catastrophic Drug Program helps relieve that burden. It also helps improve health outcomes by ensuring that access to important medications isn’t denied because of a patient’s finances. Better health outcomes will save taxpayers money in the long run,” said Lantz.

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