Fredericton, N.B. – The provincial government has tabled a report recommending a mandatory prescription drug insurance plan for the estimated 70,000 families who do not have drug coverage.

The government struck a committee led by former health minister Dennis Furlong in January 2011 to explore options on improving drug insurance.

Its report says uninsured families pay up to $150 million per year in prescription drug costs, or up to $2,100 per family.

The report offers two options: an annual deductible of up to $500 per family and a co-payment of up to $20 per prescription, or no annual deductible and a co-payment of up to $30 per prescription.

Low-income earners would get a subsidy based on their level of income.

The families would pay about two-thirds of the cost of the program.

Their employers and the province would cover the rest.

Health Minister Ted Flemming says the government is reviewing the report and will move quickly to implement a plan that will include catastrophic drug coverage.