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New Evidence-Building Program For Cancer Drugs

Archived News Release

New Evidence-Building Program For Cancer Drugs

McGuinty Government Providing Greater Access To Cancer Treatment

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is moving forward with a program for specific cancer drugs, where emerging evidence shows strong promise to benefit patients.   

In partnership with Cancer Care Ontario, Ontario will allow conditional expanded coverage for cancer drugs that are being funded after a Committee to Evaluate Drugs (CED) review but where there is evolving evidence demonstrating clinical benefit beyond the current criteria.  In these cases, a direct clinical trial may not have been completed because the subset of patients is too small for drug manufacturers to be able to gather sufficient evidence.  

Coverage of specific drugs under the new program will allow data to be gathered so that the CED can make a new recommendation on whether or not the criteria should be permanently expanded.

Cancer Care Ontario will work with the CED to make a recommendation to the Executive Officer, Ontario Public Drug Programs on which cancer drugs will be considered for trial under this new program. The program guidelines will be completed in May, 2011. Manufacturers will be an important contributor to this initiative.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2006, Ontario Public Drug Programs has funded an additional 35 cancer products.
  • The CED, a committee of medical experts and patients, conducts a thorough assessment of drug submissions from manufacturers relating to scientific evidence, clinical experience, patient perspective and cost-effectiveness. The CED then makes a recommendation on whether or not a drug should be funded under the Ontario Public Drug Programs.
  • The Executive Officer decides on funding/drug coverage through Ontario's drug programs, negotiates agreements with manufacturers of drug products, and provides payments under the Ontario public drug programs.
  • 12 cancer centres have been opened, expanded or are under construction since 2004.
  • Cancer surgery wait times are down by nearly 24% or 19 days since 2005.

Additional Resources


“All Ontarians get access to the best treatment through our health care system but we owe it to the patients living with some cancers to explore what we can do in situations where a full study on specific drugs is not yet completed. That's why we will work with manufacturers and Cancer Care Ontario to ensure we are doing everything we can to learn the best evidence to help more Ontarians fight through cancer.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“This is very good news for cancer patients in Ontario. The government has moved responsibly to ensure that cancer drugs are made available to more patients, and to strengthen the evidence base.”

Dr. Carol Sawka

Vice-President, Clinical Programs and Quality Initiatives, Cancer Care Ontario

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