Substance use treatment medications to be covered under Canada-PEI prescription drug coverage

A suite of substance use treatment medications will be available, at no cost, to Islanders under the Canada-PEI Improving Affordable Access to Prescriptions Drugs initiative, which was announced in August 2021.

Beginning June 1, Island residents receiving treatment for alcohol or opiate dependency will have financial supports for prescriptions of Methadone, Suboxone, Probuphine and Sublocade used in management of opioid dependency as well as alcohol dependency medications Acamprosate and Naltrexone.

“Access to care is a cornerstone of PEI’s health system. These supports will make it more financially feasible for people to receive medical help in addressing their substance use issues.”

- Health and Wellness Minister Ernie Hudson.

Under the August 2021 Canada-PEI initiative, 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.

“Everyone has the right to accessible, high-quality health care.” said the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health. “The Canada-PEI initiative will help inform the implementation of the national pharmacare program. Today’s announcement will allow residents of PEI with opioid or alcohol use disorders to access the support they need without having to worry about the ability to afford it.”

Those who are most vulnerable such as uninsured Islanders, seniors, and families who face the high burden of medication costs will benefit from improved access to drug therapies with the removal of costs or co-pays for these medications.

“Covering the costs of opioid and alcohol dependency medications will eliminate barriers to treatment and provide Islanders tip to tip with access to these therapies. Our department is committed to increasing harm reduction measures and this program is certainly a big step in the right direction,” said Hudson.  

“Addiction is a diagnosable and treatable medical condition.” said the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health. “By facilitating access to life-saving addiction treatment medications, we are taking another step forward in ensuring that all PEI residents that face problematic substance use have reliable access to the treatments and care they deserve, wherever they live and whenever they need it.”

In the Spring of 2021, PEI began the work of reviewing the formulary and drug programs with the goal to improve drug coverage on PEI.  As a result of the PEI Government’s investment in the drug formulary, close to 80 formulary additions were made in 2021-22.  

For details on PEI’s support for the cost of prescription medication, visit: Drug Programs.

Media Contact:
Ron Ryder
Senior Communications Officer
Health and Wellness
(902) 314-6367

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121