News release

New Nova Scotia Family Pharmacare Program Begins

A new pharmacare program begins this month to help Nova Scotians and their families with the cost of prescription drugs.

The first week of the Family Pharmacare program coincides with Pharmacy Awareness Week.

"I want to thank pharmacists for their support of the Family Pharmacare program which will help put prescription drugs within everyone's reach," said Premier Rodney MacDonald. "With rising prescription drug costs, it is even more important to have programs that help Nova Scotians get the prescription drugs they need."

According to a 2000 Health Canada study, about 180,000 Nova Scotians, almost 19 per cent, have no drug coverage. The Family Pharmacare program is available to all Nova Scotians and everyone is encouraged to enrol.

"As trusted partners in the health-care system, pharmacists are increasingly playing a key role in providing important health information and advice to Nova Scotians," said Health Minister Chris d'Entremont. "Everyone can, and should, enrol in the program to have better access to prescription drugs as well as protection against very high drug costs that can place an undue financial burden on families."

There are no premiums or fees to enrol. It will cap annual out-of-pocket costs for eligible drugs at a percentage of a family's income.

For example, a family of four with combined income of $25,000 and annual drug costs of $1,000 will only have to pay $440 with the Family Pharmacare coverage.

Another family of four with combined income of $81,000 and annual drug costs of $30,000 will save $15,360 with the program.

"We are pleased that we can now help the people we serve every day even more by directing them to the Family Pharmacare program that offers them options they did not have before," said Sandra Aylward, president of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia.

Since the program was announced in November, information has been available through newspaper and television ads, and direct mail-out to doctors, pharmacies, health charities and other groups. In the first week of February, the Department of Health began sending provincewide reminder notices to almost 400,000 residential addresses, encouraging people to learn more about, and enrol in, the program.

All residents with a valid Nova Scotia health card can enrol. More information and enrolment forms are available on the website at www.nspharmacare.ca or by calling toll-free 1-877-330-0323.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

A new pharmacare program was launched today (March 3rd) to help Nova Scotians and their families with the cost of prescription drugs.

Premier Rodney MacDonald says with rising drug costs, this universal drug plan will help Nova Scotians get the drugs they need to stay healthy.

The program is available to all Nova Scotians. A provincewide mail-out to almost 400-thousand Nova Scotia homes encourages people to learn about and, enrol in, the program.

Enrolment forms and program information are available on the website at W-W-W dot N-S pharmacare dot C-A.

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Media Contact:

Pamela Hafey
Department of Health 902-424-3976 E-mail: