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Ministry Status: Activation Status

Ontario Public Drug Programs

Drug Innovation Fund

In April 2007, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced the establishment of the Drug Innovation Fund to provide Ontario researchers with stable, long-term funding needed to perform systems outcomes research, and evaluate the value of medicines in improving health outcomes.

The 2011-2012 DIF Review Cycle Has Been Placed on Hold

The ministry has temporarily cancelled the DIF review process and will not be issuing a Call for Letters of Intent (LOI) for potential research grants for the 2011-2012 review cycle. The ministry is currently reviewing and re-focusing the specific research themes in order to better align potential research proposals with the specific needs of the Ontario Public Drug Programs. The ministry will strive to announce a new Call for LOIs in the Spring of 2012 for the 2012-2013 review cycle.

Mandate

Through the Transparent Drug System for Patients Act (formerly known as Bill 102), the Ontario Government has committed to provide annual funding for innovative health system research through the establishment of the Drug Innovation Fund. Short-term and multi-year funding will be provided to eligible researchers and organizations in Ontario to:

  • Generate strong, high-quality, independent scientific evidence on the impact and value of new and existing drugs across the health care system, by linking drug interventions to health or system outcomes. These outcomes could include non-drug health outcomes or expenditures, such as inpatient hospital expenditures, ambulatory care, physician visits, etc.
  • Support linkages between researchers, clinicians and drug policy decision makers to ensure the timely and effective application of relevant evidence-based scientific information and to support the objectives and priorities of the Ontario Public Drug Programs Office.
  • Support and develop research capacity in the area of drugs and health outcomes in Ontario.
Background

To inform evidence-based policy making, improved "real-world," population-based evidence is needed on the impact of drug utilization on costs and outcomes. Greater evidence is required with regard to the impact of the use of new drugs (those recently approved for marketing and sale) on both patient and health system outcomes related to the treatment of a particular condition within a patient population. As such, funding will be provided to Ontario academics/scientists through the Drug Innovation Fund, to perform evidence-based research that will demonstrate the positive role of new and existing drugs in reducing non-drug health care expenditures within the health care system. Presently, the fund provides $5 million annually to fund research in this area. The ministry has announced a formal competition for the first Request for Letters of Intent (LOI) for potential research grants.

During the 2010/11 review period, from a total of 12 Letters of Intent received, the ministry approved funding for 2 proposals.

During the 2009/10 review period, from a total of 14 Letters of Intent received, the ministry approved funding for 3 proposals.

During the 2008/09 review period, from a total of 23 Letters of Intent received, the ministry approved funding for 5 proposals.

During the 2007/08 review period, from a total of 37 Letters of Intent received, the ministry approved funding for 8 proposals, totalling about $3.8 million.

Submissions are assessed by a Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel guided by their Terms of Reference.

Capacity Building Award Initiatives

On July 18, 2007, the ministry, in partnership with the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), announced the launch of the following capacity-building award initiatives in support of:

  • An Ontario Chair in Drug Policy
  • Four Fellowships Awards in drug policy

In January 2009, the CIHR and the Ontario Public Drug Programs welcomed the successful candidate to the position of Ontario Chair in Drug Policy.

Funding for these initiatives is provided through the ministry's Drug Innovation Fund, in its continuing effort to support drug policy capacity building in Ontario. Please visit the CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research website for details (including submission dates) and applications for the Drug Policy Fellowships Awards.

For questions about the Drug Innovation Fund, please contact Orest Sporniak at (416) 326-3141, or by email at: Orest.Sporniak@ontario.ca.

 

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