Comparative Reflexiveness

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  • 04/25/2007
Whether it’s said in an American accent or a more refined British one, what's most important is to accent the truth – comparative effectiveness is bad medicine when you use healthcare technology assessment (HTA) tools (aka "Evidence-based Medicine") that misuse and misrepresent data derived from RCTs. Doing so yields results that budget managers want – regardless of whether or not it yields what’s best for the patient.

It’s the choice of short-term, short-sighted politicians.

Consider what’s going on in the UK.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical is fighting proposals by the Office of Fair Trading to overhaul the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme so drugs companies will be forced to evaluate the benefit to the patient and the National Health Service when they set the prices.

Richard Barker, ABPI director-general, called the OFT's proposals "dangerous and anti-innovative". "The OFT has failed to understand the nature of scientific progress is step by step," he said, arguing that without a commercial incentive to introduce incremental improvements, more significant breakthroughs in new medicines would not take place.

He said the industry's two principal demands were to enhance the methods used for "health technology assessment", which would scrutinize the efficacy and cost benefits of new medicines; and to boost the often poor "uptake" of new medicines recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the medicines advisory body.

His comments came ahead of hearings set to begin in the coming weeks by the Commons' health committee on the operation of the institute, which is studying why the agency's decisions are increasingly being questioned and whether public confidence in the organization is waning.

MPs will discuss the evaluation process and whether any particular groups are disadvantaged by the process, the speed of publishing guidance, the appeal system, comparison with the work of its Scottish counterpart, and implementation of its guidance.

Here’s the full story from the Financial Times:

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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