We welcome the Tervonen et al. article, Capture of systemic anticancer therapy use by routinely collected health datasets (2020;30(1):e3012004)1, addressing the fit-for-purpose nature of Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) and other routine data to capture ‘fact of treatment’ for people receiving anticancer medicines in NSW public hospitals (2008–2012). Compared with treatment recorded in the NSW Clinical Cancer Registry (ClinCR), they found PBS capture rates of >80%, but this varied by cancer type.
To our knowledge, the NSW ClinCR has not been validated as the gold standard for treatment ascertainment.2 We also believe the authors’ findings likely underestimate PBS capture rates.
Finally, we reiterate the authors’ conclusions; researchers must establish the utility of patient-level PBS data to address specific research questions relating to anticancer treatment. Quantifying capture rates by cancer site alone does not account for staging, different treatment modalities, sequencing, and delivery settings.
The Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Sydney has received funding from AbbVie Australia to conduct research, unrelated to the present study. AbbVie did not have any knowledge of, or involvement in, the present study.
© 2020 Favell et al. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence, which allows others to redistribute, adapt and share this work non-commercially provided they attribute the work and any adapted version of it is distributed under the same Creative Commons licence terms.
1. Tervonen HE, Creighton N, Zhao GW, Ng M, Currow DC. Capture of systemic anticancer therapy use by routinely collected health datasets. Public Health Res Pract. 2020;30(1):e3012004. CrossRef | PubMed
2. Cancer Institute NSW. Whitepaper: CINSW clinical cancer data 2008–2012: an overview and guide for prospective researchers. Sydney: NSW Government CINSW; 2020 [cited 2020 Jun 4]. Available from: www.cancer.nsw.gov.au/getattachment/data-research/cancer-related-data/request-unlinked-unit-record-data-for-research/E17-38991-Whitepaper-NSW-Clinical-Cancer-Registry-v1-3-10-March-2020.PDF?lang=en-AU
3. Harris CA, Daniels B, Ward RL, Pearson SA. Retrospective comparison of Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme claims data with prescription data in HER2-positive early breast cancer patients, 2008–2012. Public Health Res Pract. 2017;27(5):e275174. CrossRef | PubMed
4. Kelly E, Lu CY, Albertini S, Vitry A. Longitudinal trends in utilization of endocrine therapies for breast cancer: an international comparison. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2015;40(1):e76–82. CrossRef | PubMed