This tutorial explains the process that decision makers in Canada follow to decide whether to publicly fund new cancer drugs. You’ll learn who is involved in this process, and how health benefits, costs and values play into the decision. At the end of the tutorial, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Which groups make decisions in Canada about publicly-funded cancer drugs and how are those decisions made?
  • How do we know if drugs work and are better than current treatment?
  • How do costs and benefits fit into the decision-making process?
  • What is a fair decision?
  • How are decision makers held accountable to the public?
  • How can you get involved in cancer drug funding decision-making panels?

The principles described in this tutorial also apply to decisions about other non-cancer drugs and new health-care technologies.

Who should read this tutorial?

This tutorial is for you if you are someone who is concerned or curious about how decisions are made to fund which new cancer drugs with public funds. This tutorial describes drug funding decision making in Canada as it is currently best practiced. The tutorial describes decision making at the societal level and will not help you decide which drugs to use for treatment.

Who developed this tutorial and how?

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review developed this tutorial, with input from patient representatives, patient advocates, clinicians and decision-makers. These key stakeholders provided important insights on the type of information that should be included.

Would you like to learn more?

You can do a free tutorial called PrePARE – Preparing Participants for Allocating Resources Equitably – to learn more about how health care funding decisions are made in general. You’ll have the opportunity to do interactive exercises and achieve a certificate of completion at the end. Here’s the tutorial:


Last updated: September 9, 2015