Cancer drugs are expensive and rarely affordable for individuals affected with this illness. In many countries, governments pay for selected cancer drugs in order to ease the financial burden on patients and their families. Government budgets, however, are also limited, and not all cancer drugs can be funded.
How does a government decide which cancer drugs to include on its formulary (reimbursement list)? In many countries, this decision is made upon the advice of review bodies. For example, in Canada, the pan Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) offers formulary advice to Provincial governments. In the United Kingdom, such advice is provided by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). The Australian counterpart is called the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Our research focuses on three review bodies, the Canadian pCORD, the Polish AOTMiT (Agencja Oceny Technologii Medycznych i Tarificacji, Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Tariffs) and the German G-BS (Gemainsamer Bundesausschuss, Federal Joint Committee). We work with these bodies to compare their processes, identify challenges and recommend improvements.
The Canadian study is funded through the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Partnerships for Health Systems Improvement (PHSI) grant. The Polish and German study is funded through the POLONEZ 3 Fellowship from the Polish National Centre for Science co-funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie.