Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

Prince Edward Island

Prescription Drug Programs in Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island's Department of Health and Wellness offers various programs to help Islanders with the cost of their prescription drugs. The Hepatitis Program is specifically for people living with hepatitis C who require medications. This program also provides hepatitis A and B vaccines to people who may be at risk of acquiring these infections.

Coverage for Hepatitis C Medications

The Hepatitis Program covers the cost of the following hepatitis C medications for eligible applicants:

  • peg-interferon and ribavirin
  • Holkira Pak (dasabuvir + ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir)

To apply for coverage from the Hepatitis Program, Islanders who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C and have decided to undergo treatment can request that their specialist complete and submit the required application forms to the Department of Health and Wellness. When reviewing the application, the Chief Health Officer will consider the specialist's request and the patient's hepatitis C test results.

Some of the factors that may be considered when approving funding for hepatitis C medications include:

  • a positive HCV RNA test
  • HCV genotype
  • level of fibrosis
  • whether or not an individual is living with chronic hepatitis C

If the application is approved, medications will be provided free of charge. People will be provided with an educational session from their pharmacist to learn more about their medications and how to take them in order to get the best treatment response possible.

People not part of the Hepatitis Program who receive Social Assistance can apply to have their hepatitis C medications covered through the Financial Assistance Drug Program. This is the program provided to Social Assistance clients who require help with covering the cost of prescription and non-prescription drugs. People can ask their case workers about how they can get help paying for their hepatitis C medications.

For more information about drug programs in PEI or the Hepatitis Program, people can speak with their hepatitis C specialist or call Pharmacy Services at (902) 368-4947 or 1-877-577-3737.

If people qualify for one of the drug programs listed, they can also receive coverage for medications listed in the provincial drug formulary, including hepatitis C medications. Individuals who are co-infected with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C who require medications for both illnesses will need to apply to both the AIDS/HIV Program and the Hepatitis Program in order to receive coverage for their medications.

Registered First Nations and recognized Inuit people may be able to access coverage for their hepatitis C medications through the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program.  People can contact NIHB by phone or mail at:

Non-Insured Health Benefits – Atlantic Region
First Nations and Inuit Health
Health Canada
1505 Barrington Street, Suite 1525
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 3Y6

Toll-free: 1-800-565-3294

 

Some programs can be accessed by all Canadians. Examples include:

Private health insurance

Some health insurance policies offered through private insurance companies include coverage for prescription drugs. These programs often have their own deductible, or co-pay fee, and may have yearly maximums for prescription drugs.

Programs offered by pharmaceutical companies

The pharmaceutical companies that make Hep C medications have programs to help people complete treatment. Merck has the Merck Care program for people taking peg-interferon alpha-2b (known as Pegetron). Hoffman-La Roche has the Pegassist program for people taking peg-interferon alpha-2a (known as Pegasys). Vertex has the Incivek Care program for people taking telaprevir (known as Incivek). Gilead Sciences has the Momentum Support program for people taking sofosbuvir (known as Sovaldi).

These programs have phone support for people on treatment, and part of this support is helping people to access the funding necessary to cover treatment costs. These programs can inform patients about local, provincial, and federal government programs for accessing treatment and can help the patient find out ways to maximize any public funding or private medical insurance (including the appeals process, if the patient also has a supportive doctor). If a person is eligible, some programs can help cover the insurance company co-pay fee, provincial or territorial plan's deductible, and a number of other expenses, depending on a person's specific situation.

Janssen has the Galexos: BioAdvance Patient Support Program for people taking simeprevir (known as Galexos).

AbbVie has the AbbVie Care Program for people taking Holkira Pak.

For more information, contact:

 Pegassist Program

 1-877-PEGASYS (1-877-734-2797)

 Merck Care Program

 1-866-872-5773

 Incivek Care Program

 1-877-574-4298

Momentum Support Program 

1-855-447-7977

Galexos: BioAdvance Patient Support Program

1-855-512-3740

AbbVie Care

1-844-471-2273

People who contracted hepatitis C from a blood transfusion between 1986 and 1990 may be eligible to have hepatitis C treatment expenses covered by the Hepatitis C January 1, 1986 - July 1, 1990 Class Actions Settlement. To learn more about these programs, see Compensation.

Revised 2014.