Scoping Review of International Experience of a Dedicated Fund to Support Patient Access to Cancer Drugs: Policy Implications for Thailand

Document Type : Review Article


Department of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand


Access to high-cost cancer drugs is an unsolved problem globally. The dedicated drugs fund is attractive and feasible. This study reviewed currently implemented dedicated drugs fund worldwide to inform policy implications for Thailand.
A scoping review was conducted to identify countries currently implementing dedicated funds for cancer drugs. We searched electronic databases, PubMed and Embase, from 2010 to May 2021, Google and Google Scholar in August 2021, and government websites up to April 2022. The structure, management, cost containment strategies, and impact of dedicated funds were summarized and compared across the identified countries and Thailand.
Out of 218 nations, Hong Kong, England, and Italy have established dedicated cancer drugs fund (CDF), primarily funded by their governments. Funds in England and Italy operate within annual budget limits. Hong Kong relies on an endowment fund. In England and Italy, pharmaceutical companies contribute proportionally to cover overspending as per risk-sharing agreements, while cost-sharing is not required. Hong Kong implements cost-sharing based on a patient’s family income. England and Italy employ a parallel pathway, utilizing the same drug selection committee to determine whether innovative drugs belong in the regular pharmaceutical benefits package or the dedicated drugs fund. Hong Kong follows a sequential pathway, allowing drugs to be considered for the dedicated funds after a negative decision. These countries use the fund for 5-11 years, making administrative adjustments to ensure sustainability.
The dedicated drugs fund is an effective strategy to improve access to non-reimbursable high-cost drugs in Thailand. Robust evaluation of the fund itself and funded drugs are recommended for policy-makers’ better decisionmaking. Learning from other countries can offer promising solutions. Health insurers need to balance providing cancer treatments with overall system preparedness.


  • Receive Date: 21 October 2022
  • Revise Date: 25 November 2023
  • Accept Date: 31 December 2023
  • First Publish Date: 31 December 2023