Project methodology

What is the Oncoindex?

The Oncoindex is calculated to reflect the level of access of Polish patients to cancer medicines which are registered in Europe since 2004 and recommended by European Society for Medical Oncology. The Oncoindex makes it possible to assess whether Polish patients can count on receiving treatment consistent with current medical knowledge through the public healthcare system. In addition, the portal supports patients who are searching for information on approved medicines recommended for specific types of cancer.

Why have we developed the Oncoindex?

As part of the project, we regularly investigate the issue of respecting the patient’s right to receive treatment consistent with current medical knowledge. To this end, we compare the standard of therapy financed by the National Health Fund with the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) guidelines. Published scientific research demonstrates that the observance of such scientific community guidelines has a positive impact on patient survival rates. We want to use the Oncoindex to monitor the situation of patients in our country and deliver reliable and useful information.

How do we calculate the Oncoindex?

We study the therapeutic areas of solid tumours and haemato-oncological diseases, which are the primary cause of death among cancer patients in Poland: 10 solid tumours and 10 haemato-oncological diseases (within eight indications). We collect data from reports published by the National Cancer Registry. The National Cancer Registry is an open-access population register financed by the state. We then check whether at least one new ESMO-recommended therapy has been approved since 2004 for a particular type of cancer. The Oncoindex is calculated in three steps:

  1. We determine whether a medicine is reimbursed for a given indication in Poland in accordance with ESMO guidelines. If the drug is available without restrictions, in line with ESMO guidelines, we award 1 point. If the NFZ does finance the therapy, but only for some patients for a given indication, we award 0.5 point. If a given medicine is not reimbursed at all, we award 0 points. In special cases, when the drug is registered by EMA, not recommended by ESMO but it is reimbursed in Poland, we include such a therapy in the calculation of Oncoindex.
  2. For every type of disease, we add points on the basis of drug access level and divide the total by the maximum number of points to achieve; for example, for lung and bronchial cancer the ratio is 6/18 (as of 1 November 2018). We subtract 100 from this value. In this way, we obtain a Suboncoindex for a given therapeutic area.
  3. After determining Suboncoindices for all therapeutic areas, we calculate the main Oncoindex, which is a weighted mean of the Suboncoindices; the weights are based on the number of deaths for individual therapeutic areas (according to National Cancer Registry data). In this way the value of the Oncoindex is obtained, which is displayed on the home page. We also publish cancer drug reimbursement indices separately for solid tumours and haemato-oncological diseases as well as for individual therapeutic areas.

If you want to find out more about the project methodology or if you have any questions, please contact us at oncoindex@alivia.org.pl.