The Partnership’s initiative on cancer drug sustainability has been developed in close collaboration with the Canadian Association of Provincial Cancer Agencies (CAPCA). CPAC’s work comprises three elements:

  1. An economic Analysis aimed at developing an understanding of the factors driving drug spending and the levers available to influence sustainability
  2. Developing and applying real-world evidence of approved cancer drugs in decision-making
  3. Development and dissemination of a pan-Canadian framework of public values and priorities to inform decision-making

The Partnership has completed the first part of its cancer drugs and sustainability initiative by commissioning an evidence synthesis of recent Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Information (CIHI) reports to understand costs drivers from a cancer control perspective. Some drugs and treatments can be healthcare intensive, including those involved in the treatment of cancer patients. Cancer services are subject to distinct funding arrangements, which are the general focus of the present project.

Risks Sciences International (RSI) was the selected vendor who submitted two (2) reports on the Economic Analysis for cancer drug sustainability.

  1. Evidence Synthesis on Post-Approval Surveillance of Approved Novel Cancer Drugs: RSI conducted an evidence synthesis to identify such post-approval surveillance systems and describe their origins, goals, structures and characteristics. Peer-reviewed articles were identified using structured searches in three databases and the gray literature was evaluated with a Google search. An environmental scan, by interview of selected provincial experts, was also conducted following approval by the University of Ottawa Research Ethics Board.
  2. Analysis of Factors Driving Cancer Drug Spending and Levers Available to Influence Sustainability: This report focuses on available data from Canada and abroad, specifically, on public and private sector spending on prescribed drugs for treatment of cancer in comparison to the costs of drugs used to treat other, non-cancer diseases.

Making fair and sustainable decisions about funding for cancer drugs in Canada

In 2016, the Partnership funded the Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC) and the McMaster Health Forum to engage Canadians on their priorities for how decisions are made about cancer drug funding. A series of deliberative public engagement events, often known as “Citizen Panels”, were held in communities across Canada with people representing a range of life and health experiences and social perspectives.

The focus was on cancer drug funding because of the rise in expenditure and cost of cancer drugs. Cancer treatment costs have increased at a faster rate than in other areas of health care, and the majority of that is spent on cancer drugs. A key objective was to seek direction on what values should underpin policy decisions when budgets are limited, and how these decisions may be made in a trustworthy manner.

A summary of ARCC and McMaster Health Forum’s Report Making Fair and Sustainable Decisions about Funding for Cancer Drugs in Canada is available. We are sharing the summary and link to the full report with organizations interested in cancer drug funding and involved in provincial and national funding and implementation decisions. The Partnership is also exploring opportunities to develop tools and strategies to help support funding decisions on cancer drugs.

Last updated: December 8, 2017