“We need a coordinated approach to evaluating technologies across the country to ensure that all Canadians are benefiting from the advances being made in health technology.” — The Honourable Perrin Beatty, 1989
Those words, spoken by the federal Minister of Health and Welfare of the day, signalled the arrival of a new player in health care in Canada — the Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment (CCOHTA), known today as CADTH.
Initially funded as a three-year pilot project with a singular focus on medical devices, CADTH has evolved over the years to align itself to the challenging and expanding needs of Canada’s health care decision-makers.
From Modest Beginnings
Our first Executive Director, Dr. Devidas Menon, built the foundation for a pan-Canadian health technology assessment (HTA) organization from the ground up, literally and figuratively. He secured permanent funding, managed the expansion of the organization’s mandate to include drugs, as well as medical devices, established the Information Services program, and created international linkages that endure to this day.
Dr. Jill Sanders, who led CADTH from 1997 to 2010, guided CADTH’s complete transformation into a pan-Canadian organization. Under her leadership, the CADTH Common Drug Review, Liaison Officer, Optimal Use, and Rapid Response programs were launched, and the first public members were appointed to the expert drug committee.
Toward a Bright Future
Since 2010, under the direction of Dr. Brian O’Rourke, CADTH has become more transparent, increased stakeholder engagement, added public members to its Board of Directors, harmonized the scientific approach of its products and services, increased production of its HTAs and rapid reviews, invited patient engagement, and welcomed the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review to the organization.
Today, CADTH is one of the world’s leading HTA organizations and an essential contributor to evidence-informed decision-making in Canada. Our work is having an impact across the country, and we continue to evolve to support Canada’s health care decision-makers.
The early history of the CADTH Common Drug Review (CDR)
Written by two instrumental staff who helped set CDR’s foundation, Barb Shea and Elaine MacPhail shed light on the Canadian landscape as the country readied itself for a single drug review process leading up to the early 2000s. The CDR History includes the federal, provincial, and territorial collaboration that resulted in 18 drug plans working together; and ultimately how CCOHTA, which is today CADTH, reinforced its expertise and resources to welcome the CDR initiative into its fold, where it continues to grow today.