This should be a cautionary tale to those in the comparative effectiveness cult: a reimbursement code is as good as a death sentence to thousands of cancer patients if it creates practice variations that delay access to drugs that work for particular groups of patients.
For even more evidence of that, CMPI released study yesterday by Professor Frank Lichtenberg of Columbia University showing a direct association between access to new cancer drugs and increases in life expectancy and survival from cancer between the years 1991-2003. And for those who bleat that we need comparative effectiveness to turn each patient into a cost center consider that Dr. L found that each additional year of cancer free life cost $4300, a fraction of what other economists pegged the value of that achievement: $250k.
You can find the Lichtenberg study later at http://www.cmpi.org
The Berenson piece is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/14/health/14lymphoma.html?_r=1&oref=slogin