Guidelines for health technologies: specific guidance for oncology products in Canada

Value Health. 2012 May;15(3):580-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2011.12.006. Epub 2012 Feb 16.


Objective: Specific methodological challenges are often encountered during cancer-related economic evaluations. The objective of this study was to provide specific guidance to analysts on the methods for the conduct of high-quality economic evaluations in oncology by building on the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health Guidelines for the Economic Evaluation of Health Technologies (third edition).

Methods: Fifteen oncologists, health economists, health services researchers, and decision makers from across Canada identified sections in Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health guidelines that would benefit from oncology-specific guidance. Fifteen sections of the guidelines were reviewed to determine whether 1) Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health guidelines were sufficient for the conduct of oncology economic evaluations without further guidance specific for oncology products or 2) additional guidance was necessary. A scoping review was conducted by using a comprehensive and replicable search to identify relevant literature to inform recommendations. Recommendations were reviewed by representatives of academia, government, and the pharmaceutical industry in an iterative and formal review of the recommendations.

Results: Major adaptations for guidance related to time horizon, effectiveness, modeling, costs, and resources were required. Recommendations around the use of final outcomes over intermediate outcomes to calculate quality-adjusted life-years and life-years gained, the type of evidence, the source of evidence, and the use of time horizon and modeling were made.

Conclusions: This article summarizes key recommendations for the conduct of economic evaluations in oncology and describes methods required to ensure that economic assessments in oncology are conducted in a standardized manner.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / standards
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / economics*