Provincial elections and timing of cancer drug funding
Concerns have been raised about the potential influence of political pressures on drug funding decisions. We evaluated the temporal relationship between cancer drug funding and provincial elections in 9 Canadian provinces.
New indications for cancer drugs between January 2003 and December 2012 were identified, and the dates of official provincial funding dates and election dates between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2014 were retrieved. The probability of drug funding announcements in the 60-day period preceding a provincial election was evaluated using binomial probability distribution analysis.
Data from 9 provinces (all Canadian provinces except Quebec) were available. During the period of interest, 69 new indications for 39 individual drugs were identified. Variation in the availability of funding dates was identified. At the time of data collection, 2 provinces did not have data available for all 69 indications. For the 9 provinces, the number of funded indications during the 60-day period preceding an election ranged from 0 to 3; however, no differences in the proportion of indications funded pre-election were identified. Additional analyses also failed to demonstrate any significant associations with the 90-day period before an election, or the 60- and 90- day periods after an election.
We observed no clear temporal relationship between provincial election dates and funding decisions in this recent Canadian sample of new indications for cancer drugs.