Module Catalogue 2022/23

ONC8028 : Practical Health Economics for Cancer (E-learning)

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Diarmuid Coughlan
  • Lecturer: Mr Tomos Robinson
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Off Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The aims of this module are:

To introduce students to economic principles and tools which can be applied to healthcare with a focus on oncology and palliative care.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will start with an introduction to economic thinking and define key terms such as scarcity, opportunity cost, and priority setting that will be needed for subsequent topics. Followed by topics related to the economics of health care markets such as demand and supply of medicines, market failure, and equity. The middle of the module will focus on economic evaluation within a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) framework. This will include evidence synthesis techniques. Economic evaluation will be defined and there will be discussion on why it is important. Emphasis will be on data requirements and practically aspects of conducting cost-effective analysis, cost-utility analysis and cost-benefit analysis Following on from this we will look at Market Access. A focus will be ongoing evolution of the Cancer Drug Fund in the UK. Other patient access schemes will be discussed along with other approaches to commissioning new cancer medicines internationally. The literature for the economic case for palliative care will be outlined. Finally, discussion of affordability, budget impact, what next for cancer medicines in the midst/aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic .

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to:

•Explain how economic principles are applied in healthcare decision making with a particular focus on oncology and palliative care.
•Critically appraise economic problems in cancer care using the health economist’s toolkit
•Use economic based arguments in assessing particular cancer care reforms
•Critically appraise cancer policy initiatives such as bowel screening and HPV vaccinations from an economic perspective.
•Apply economic approaches to analysis of determinants of health/health inequalities.
•Critically examine the interface between the pharmaceutical industry, HTA bodies and healthcare systems
•Apply the knowledge to real world models for introducing cancer pharmacy products:
•Evaluate barriers and challenges associated with introducing new drugs.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to:
•Apply economic tools to real life problems faced by healthcare professionals and policy makers in the oncology and palliative care field.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion310:0030:00Independent assessment preparation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading106:0060:00Online content: each topic will have hyperlinks to access information, with essential key reading
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity103:0030:00Personal reflection on topics relevant from the students profession
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity25:0010:002 activities where students contribute to answer the question posed
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study105:0050:00Supplemental reading - this will give more depth to the core materials
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion102:0020:00Via discussion board - engage in discussion on interactive activities
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Each week of the module will cover a different topic area (ten in total). Each topic area will have one or two key study documents to read, interactive lecture notes and activities. Student's responses to the activities will be posted on the discussion board on blackboard (used for online discussion) to foster dialogue between students and the instructors. The instructors will monitor and comment on all student responses to the activities to help with the consolidation of knowledge and understanding of the learning outcomes.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M10Participation in collaborative e-learning activities throughout the module.
Essay2M45Maximum 1,500 words
Oral Examination2M45Recorded powerpoint presentation. Max 15 slides, max 15 minute presentation.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MShort essay (500 words)
Oral Presentation2M5 minutes and 2 slide maximum to identify summative assessment topic and familiarise with the recording software
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment is intended to cover the breadth of the course and takes the form of a written exercise of a short essay that is a maximum of 1500 in length which will cover the basics of health economics. The rationale for this form of assessment is to evaluate the understanding of key economic concepts such as opportunity cost, scarcity and equity. Furthermore, the practical methodological approaches to economic evaluation and market access will be covered as applied to a real-world issue related to the delivery of oncology and palliative care. The second assessment will be an oral presentation covering the economic angle to a cancer care issue. The presentation allows assessment of student’s ability to develop on the issue, critically analyse the pertinent literature and present a focused critiqued piece of work.

There will be two formative assessment exercises:

One will be written on the economics of the health care market. The first formative assessment will be a short essay (~500 words). Responses to the formative assessment exercise should be posted on each individual student’s journal and all students will receive personalised feedback on their answers to help them prepare for the assignment of the short essay.

The second formative assessment will be related to market access and will be a five-minute presentation with a maximum of three slides to familiarize the students with the presentation software (Pantopto) and presenting online. Students will also receive personalized feedback for this assessment,

A participation grade is included to encourage and reward the student's engagement with the collaborative activities. The collaborative activities including posting on the discussion board and reflective journal. This will give the students an opportunity to discuss economic principles in practice and consolidate their learning.

Should a student fail the participation assessment and have to undertake a re-sit they will have to complete a different form of assessment. The student will be asked to look at 2 participation activities as identified by the module leader/team and submit a 500 word written summary (approx. 250 words per activity).


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.