Government of Canada and Prince Edward Island accelerate work to implement pharmacare

News release

August 11, 2021 | Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island | Health Canada

No Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescription drugs and putting food on the table. In fact, previously conducted surveys found one in five households reported a family member who, in the previous year, had not taken a prescribed medicine due to its cost.

That's why, today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada's Minister of Health, and the Honourable Ernie Hudson, Minister of Health and Wellness for the Government of Prince Edward island, announced the signing of the first agreement to accelerate the implementation of national universal pharmacare. Through this agreement, the province will receive $35 million over four years in federal funding, to add new drugs to its list of covered drugs, and lower out of pocket costs for drugs covered under existing public plans for Island residents.

While Prince Edward Island currently operates more than 25 different public drug plans, the list of drugs covered under these plans is less comprehensive than those in other Atlantic provinces, and the rest of Canada. Island residents also face some of Canada's highest co-pays and deductibles for drugs covered on their plans. With the agreement announced today, those who are most vulnerable like uninsured Islanders, seniors, and families with high burden of medication cost will benefit from improved access to drugs and a reduction or removal of co-pays for some medications.

The Government of Canada will use early lessons from PEI's efforts to inform its ongoing work to advance national universal pharmacare. This agreement will also build on the ongoing work to develop a national strategy for drugs for rare diseases.


"This first agreement to build the foundation for national universal pharmacare will help improve access and lower costs for prescription drugs Islanders need. It will also build on the ongoing work to make drugs more accessible for those living with rare diseases. We will continue to work with other provinces and territories, using lessons learned from this initiative to develop and implement national universal pharmacare."

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

"Many Islanders are currently facing challenges to access affordable critical medications they need to live a healthier life. This partnership is an important first step toward providing more affordable access to public drug coverage for Islanders."

The Honourable Ernie Hudson
Minister of Health and Wellness, Government of Prince Edward Island

"Prescription drugs are too costly for too many Islanders, and it's vitally important that we take steps to change that. Making sure that everyone has access to the medication they need is a priority both for our government and for the government here on PEI, and I'm glad we're able to work together to bring down costs for folks right across the Island."

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • With this agreement, Prince Edward Island will receive $35 million over 4 years (2021-22 to 2024-25) in federal funding to improve access to and make prescriptions drugs more affordable.
  • This funding is in addition to the concrete steps the government is taking toward the implementation of national universal pharmacare, as outlined in Budget 2021 and the Fall Economic Statement 2020.

Associated links


Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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