Cancer Pharmaceuticals Quality

NCCN Evidence Blocks

NCCN recently released a new approach to measure the value of cancer medicines. The approach–known as Evidence Blocks–evaluates medications on 5 dimensions:

  • Efficacy of regimens,
  • Safety of regimens,
  • Quality and quantity of evidence for regimens,
  • Consistency of evidence for regimens, and
  • Affordability of regimens.

Each criteria is ranked on a 1 to 5 block scale. There are no specific numeric cutoffs to get a rating of 5 on a category rather than a value of 5. Instead, NCCN provides guidance on what qualitative criteria are needed to reach each quality level; then expert panels decide on how each drug ranks on each of these criteria.


The Evidence Blocks seem targeted towards facilitating patient decision-making and discussions with their provider rather than any absolute treatment recommendation. Consider the way cost is measured under the Evidence Blocks:

The score in the Evidence Block is not to tell people what the absolute or actual true cost is; it is really to get a conversation started that if cost is an important consideration that they need to dig deeper into what their jeopardy in cost is. It’s not the dollar amount they are going to have to pay for.

More details on the Evidence Blocks is contained in the entire 1 hour presentation available below:

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