by Nigel S.B. Rawson
July 18, 2014
Access to new drugs in Canada has been slower than in other countries for decades. Life-extending oncology drugs are particularly difficult to obtain. In response to this difficulty, the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) was established to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness information of new oncology drugs. Yet the pCODR has acted slowly to rate these drugs, thus delaying access to them. An organization dedicated to reviewing new oncology drugs, which requires resources from the taxpayer and additional effort from pharmaceutical companies, adds little benefit to the healthcare system or to the quality and duration of the lives of cancer patients if its activities do not lead to improvements in the timeliness and fairness of access to new oncology drugs.