Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer. 2020 Jan 1;126(1):148-155. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32455. Epub 2019 Sep 23.

Health-related quality of life in oncology drug reimbursement submissions in Canada: A review of submissions to the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review.

Author information

Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Cancer Control Research, BC Cancer, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



In Canada, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) evaluates and makes recommendations for the reimbursement of cancer drugs. One component of its recommendation is based on an economic evaluation, which typically takes the form of a cost-utility analysis. A cost-utility analysis measures the effects of competing therapies with quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). The data for this calculation typically come from generic, preference-based measures of health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The objective of this review is to determine the frequency at which HRQOL data are collected alongside cancer drug trials and used in the cost-utility analysis submitted to the CADTH pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR).


Submissions between 2015 and 2018 to pCODR, the group charged with evaluating cancer drug submissions at CADTH, were reviewed. All pCODR submissions, either in progress or completed, were publicly available online. The search was restricted to completed evaluations.


Forty-three submissions met the inclusion criteria. The incremental gain in QALYs in most submissions from the new technology was small (median incremental gain, 0.86; interquartile range, 0.6-1.39). More than half of the submissions (56%) did not include original data on HRQOL, with most relying on previous studies of variable relevance and quality. Re-analyses by pCODR based on concerns over HRQOL data used in the submitted model were common (52%).


Drug manufacturers do not consistently collect data on HRQOL alongside clinical trials and instead rely on evidence generated in previous studies to inform cost-utility analyses. These findings should induce manufacturers to collect original HRQOL data that are simultaneously relevant to patients and decision makers.


decision making; health economics; quality; quality of life; reimbursement


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center