New drug coverage plan passes in New Brunswick legislature

FREDERICTON – The first phase of a new provincial drug plan passed Friday morning in the New Brunswick legislature.

The plan was an election promise made by the Alward government back in 2010 to cover drug costs for people who don’t have insurance through an employer.

It also covers people who can’t get drug coverage through social assistance programs.

Health minister Hugh Flemming spoke to health officials after the plan passed and called it a “great day for the people of New Brunswick.”

“It’s to do something constructive for people. I’ll be 60 my next birthday. This isn’t a job. I’ve had a job for the best part of 35 years.

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“This was a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the people of New Brunswick. I’ve been privileged to be able to do that today.”

The first phase of the plan is expected to begin May 1. The second phase begins in 2015, at which time the plan will be made mandatory.

The plan will cover any prescription drugs that are on the provincial formulary, which is a list of covered drugs. It has been criticized for not including certain drugs. 

Flemming was emotional while he spoke about the plan, but said it’s “not a crime” to be emotional — and he said he’s not alone.

“It’s emotional to 170,000 people who don’t have drugs and who are going to get it.”

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