May 2018 Slide of the Month

Timely recommendations by health technology assessment (HTA) agencies for drug reimbursement ensure patient access to medicines of therapeutic value. Patients believe that delays in access to important new medicines can result from HTA activities occurring sequentially following regulatory approval. Experience from other jurisdictions (e.g. Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee) indicates that alignment in the timing of the regulatory and HTA review could improve timing of overall assessment/recommendation. Our interest was in understanding how parallel regulatory and HTA reviews occur for certain medicines in Canada and what influence these sequences had on overall timing.

In particular, we wished to investigate how often the parallel review process that is available in Canada is used and what effect using this route has on the timing of the regulatory review and Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health (CADTH) recommendation. To properly interpret the observations, it is important to take into account the following considerations about the Canadian parallel review process:

    • A manufacturer can submit for a CADTH Common Drug Review before a Health Canada Notice of Compliance (NOC) is issued.
    • For the Health Canada/CADTH parallel review process, the submission to CADTH can occur 90 days before the date of anticipated NOC from Health Canada.We found that the large majority of CADTH recommendations for this cohort were positive or positive with restrictions. Priority drugs were more likely to be assessed through the parallel procedure than those undergoing a standard sequential regulatory review. The parallel process was associated with a shortening of: regulatory review time; time to start of CADTH review; CADTH assessment time; and the overall time from regulatory submission to CADTH recommendation.
    • For this study, CIRS collected data on 56 new active substance (NASs) appraised by CADTH from 2014-2016. We analysed the association of synchronisation (sequential or parallel) between the regulatory decision and first HTA recommendation in terms of: the HTA recommendations; type of regulatory review paths used and timing of decisions/recommendations. The 56 CADTH recommendations were categorised as positive, positive with restrictions or negative, based on definitions previously used by CIRS.