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Pharmacoeconomics Research Unit

Decision makers and expert committees face challenges on funding cancer drugs. Often, the clinical evidence required to make a good decision regarding a drug’s value does not yet exist. If patient outcome data are not strong, or a drug’s price has not been well justified, there may be a lot of uncertainty about a drug’s cost-effectiveness. In an effort to support drug policy decision making, Cancer Care Ontario established a Pharmacoeconomics Research Unit to help decision makers use health economics to make better decisions about cancer treatments.

Who we are

Read about our multidisciplinary team at

What we do

We use health economics to inform and improve decision making by focusing on value for money.

We support Cancer Care Ontario, the Ontario Public Drug Programs (OPDP), the Committee to Evaluate Drugs/Cancer Care Ontario (CED-CCO) subcommittee and the New Drug Funding Program (NDFP) in their pharmacoeconomic (PE) needs:

  • Conduct, evaluate and explain PE analysis of cancer drugs under review for funding consideration
  • Provide technical guidance in the area of health economics and health services research in cancer control
  • Illustrate how research can be used to inform decisions related to prevention, screening, treatment and end-of-life care in cancer

Selected grant-funded research

The cost-effectiveness of cancer drugs funded by the New Drug Funding Program: providing evidence of the value of medicines in delivering expected outcomes

Principal Investigators: Hoch J , Krahn M
Granting Agency: Drug Innovation Fund of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
Year: 2008-11

The goal of this research is to strengthen the accountability of our health care system by providing evidence of the “value for money” of cancer medicines. Using real world administrative data, we perform retrospective data analysis of the effectiveness, cost, and cost-effectiveness of cancer drugs currently covered by the Ontario government. The results of this comparative effectiveness research will be contrasted with the estimates submitted in the initial process to consider funding the drugs.

Personalized medicine: Lessons from the real world

Principal Investigator: Hoch J
Granting Agency: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Year: 2010-2011

New molecular oncology tests are being developed to help clinicians select appropriate cancer treatment.  However, results seen in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) may not occur in the “real world”.  Real-world comparative effectiveness research in personalized medicine is of substantial interest to health-care providers, policy makers, and funders.  In this project, we propose to study the real-world patterns of care and effectiveness of drugs for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).  This will be facilitated by the Ontario government’s recent decision to cover some new drugs for mCRC on the basis of a genetic test.

The Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC)

Principal Investigators: Co-PIs: Peacock S, Hoch J
Granting Agency:   Canadian Cancer Society
Year: 2009-2014

ARCC is an innovative, pan-Canadian research centre specializing in health economics, services, policy and ethics applied to cancer. As leaders of policy relevant research, education and knowledge translation, the centre aims to make improvements across the cancer control spectrum – from prevention, screening and diagnosis to treatment, rehabilitation, survivorship or palliative care.

ARCC is a partnership that was formalized in 2009 between the Canadian Cancer Society, the British Columbia Cancer Agency and Cancer Care Ontario and is unique collaboration between researchers, clinicians and decision makers from the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Cancer Care Ontario, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto.

Publications & Presentations

View selected publications and presentations at

Last modified: Mon, Sep 27, 2010
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