More cancer drugs need to be made available to P.E.I residents, says Opposition health critic James Aylward.

James Aylward

The P.E.I. government needs to rethink its priorities and approve more cancer drugs, says health critic James Aylward. (CBC)

Aylward is not accepting government's explanation that funding issues are a factor in delaying the addition of some drugs to the provincial formulary.

A recent study found it takes an average of 309 days for nationally-approved cancer drugs to be made available to residents on P.E.I. In Ontario, it takes less than half that time.

Aylward said it comes down to government priorities.

"They're spending $29 million this year to have a party to celebrate 2014. There's no reason they needed to spend that much money," said Aylward.

"How many Islanders are dying — daily, weekly — from cancer? It's time that this government gets their priorities in place, really think about Islanders."

Health PEI told CBC News this week there are 30 cancer drugs that have been approved by a national advisory body but are not covered under PEI's provincial drug plans.

The Canadian Cancer Society says some Islanders are being forced to move away for treatment as a result.