The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on cancer patients and the delivery of cancer care. To allow clinicians to adapt treatment plans for patients, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) issued a series of interim funding measures for the province's New Drug Funding Program (NDFP), which covers the cost of most hospital-delivered cancer drugs. To assess the utility of the measures and the need for their continuation, we conducted an online survey of Ontario oncology clinicians. The survey was open 3-25 September 2020 and generated 105 responses. Between April and June 2020, 46% of respondents changed treatment plans for more than 25% of their cancer patients due to the pandemic. Clinicians report broad use of interim funding measures. The most frequently reported strategies used were treatment breaks for stable patients (62%), extending dosing intervals (59%), and deferring routine imaging (56%). Most clinicians anticipate continuing to use these interim funding measures in the coming months. The survey showed that adapting cancer drug funding policies has supported clinical care in Ontario during the pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19; cancer drug reimbursement; clinical decision making; medical oncology; survey and questionnaire.