Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Comparative Effectiveness Studies: Coming To A Hospital Near You, By 2013

Bloomberg has a long article out this morning, on the topic -- highlighting Harvard's hiring of five new faculty members to conduct such research -- do go read it all, but here is a snippet:

. . . .[Comparative effectiveness studies are an important part of] Obama’s health bill, signed into law March 23. The legislation builds on $1.1 billion designated for this research in the stimulus bill and creates an institute specializing in comparative studies, with at least $500 million in annual funding starting in 2013. Doctors. . . and insurance companies led by UnitedHealth Group Inc. are racing to take advantage of the influx of money and increased focus.

The research pits multiple treatments against one other to determine the best outcome for patients -- such as figuring out whether a particular drug is better at addressing high blood pressure than other medicines or lifestyle changes. Such studies can also indicate which therapies give the most benefit for their cost, said John Sullivan, an analyst with Leerink Swann & Co., a Boston investment bank that focuses on health care. . . .

"We have to do a better job of being able to say to doctors and their patients what constitutes effective care, both cost effective and clinically effective," Sullivan said. "That’s what comparative effectiveness research can do. . . ."

Indeed. Armed with this sort of research, expensive and dubiously-effective "me too" drugs -- like Vytorin® -- will likely become less commonplace. Or, at least, reimbursement for such drugs will be less commonplace.


Anonymous said...

Condor - you may want to check your Bextra comment board ... think you need some deleting.

Anonymous said...

Great to see they will be comparing various drugs/vitamins to see what is most helpful. We will see great economic gains (fewer medical costs) from this type of research. A more eastern-western philosophy is just what we need. Could be that these studies would have impact on FDA food supplements/regulations. I doubt these regulations have been updated in many years.

Sort of off-topic but I'll post my thoughts anyway ...

I have seen some research as of late suggesting certain Rx drugs can cause changes in thyroid function (and can cause thyroid cancers). Do you suppose co-administration of iodine drops would have any effect on thyroid changes/cancers during this course of treatment? This would be a great study case IMO.

condor said...

Thanks -- deleted the spam.