2021 Update to the 2018 White Paper on Improving Access to Innovative Cancer Therapies in Canada
In 2018, Lymphoma Canada led the development of a White Paper to bring attention to the challenges in accessing innovative new cancer drugs in Canada, highlighting how existing paths were effectively denying or delaying potentially life-saving treatments for many cancer patients. With the support of 12 other Canadian Cancer Patient Groups, Lymphoma Canada called on pCODR (pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review) and the pCPA (pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance) to develop solutions to more effectively deal with uncertainty beyond a negative funding recommendation, and further provided recommendations to accelerate access to promising new cancer therapies. The result of this White Paper was the first-ever reversal of an initial negative pCODR recommendation to a positive funding recommendation!
There is still, however, much work to be done to ensure that Canadians can gain access to effective new cancer therapies in a more timely manner. With that in mind, Lymphoma Canada has led the development of a White Paper update on the current landscape for accessing innovative cancer therapies. This paper compares new submissions to pCODR, now generally termed CADTH (Canadian Agency or Drugs and Technology in Health), between 2017-2020 against the previous White Paper submissions and decisions to understand what improvements have occurred to drug access pathways. Further, an in-depth analysis into the global regulatory and health and technology assessment agencies was performed to assess novel strategies that if adopted, may assist in improving access to therapies in Canada. Based on the key issues and challenges continuing to impact the Canadian landscape, recommendations were developed to ensure cancer patients receive the most effective therapies available when they need them.
With the support of 22 cancer groups for this White Paper update, we are calling on the Canadian government and regulatory agency, health and technology assessment agency, and provincial funding agencies to collaborate to provide solutions to improve the untimely access to cancer therapies in Canada.