Impact of a novel prioritization framework on clinician-led oncology drug submissions

J. Keech, J. Beca, A. Eisen, E. Kennedy, J. Kim, C. T. Kouroukis, G. Darling, S. E. Ferguson, A. Finelli, T. M. Petrella, J. R. Perry, K. Chan, S. Gavura


Background In Canada, requests for public reimbursement of cancer drugs are predominately initiated by pharmaceutical manufacturers. Clinician-led submissions provide a mechanism to initiate the drug funding process when industry does not submit a request for funding consideration. Although such requests are resource-intensive to produce, Cancer Care Ontario (cco) has the capacity to facilitate clinician-led submissions. In 2014, cco began developing a cancer drug prioritization framework that allocates resources to systematically address a growing number of clinician-identified funding gaps with clinician-led submissions.

Methods Cancer site–specific drug advisory committees established by cco consist of health care practitioners whose roles include identifying and prioritizing funding gaps. The committees submit their identified gaps to a cross-cancer-site prioritization exercise in which the requests are ranked based on a set of guiding principles derived from health technology assessment. The requests are then sequentially allocated the resources needed to meet submission requirements. Whether the funding gap is of provincial or pan-Canadian relevance determines where the submission is filed for assessment.

Results Since its inception, the cco framework has identified 17 funding gaps in 9 cancer sites. In 4 prioritizations, the framework supported 6 submissions. As of June 2018, the framework had contributed to the eventual funding of more than 9 new drug–indication pairs, with more awaiting funding consideration.

Conclusions The cco prioritization framework has enabled clinicians to effectively and systematically identify, prioritize, and fill funding gaps not addressed by industry. Ultimately, the framework helps to ensure that patients can access evidence-informed and cost-effective therapies. The framework will continue to evolve as it encounters new challenges, including funding requests for rare indications.


Drug funding; health technology assessment; prioritization; clinician-led funding submissions


Copyright © 2019 Multimed Inc.
ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)