Empower FDA By Eliminating CER

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  • 04/19/2012
My heart is with Mike Rogers and other members of Congress who want to expand FDA's mission to include  job creation and economic growth.   And I get the message they are trying to send to the public and the FDA about what's important.  CMPI has consistently made the case that medical innovation is the primary source of longevity and prosperity.  

But the way to change FDA to promote those broader objectives is to hold it accountable to new standards for product approval and oversight reflecting dramatic changes in the science sustaining innovation.   Congressman Rogers and others can help the FDA by getting them out of the comparative effectiveness business. Reauthorization of PDUFA will give the agency more resources and more direction with regard to increasing the predictability in the development process for drugs, devices, diagnostics and combination products.  However, the FDA would get a boost if legislation stipulated that any products that use biomarkers or other tools to target treatments and improve the ability to monitor disease progression or response would be automatically approved for use in Medicare, Medicaid, etc. 

The more we can defang what is an increasingly worthless CER enterprise the more FDA can achieve the mission the Congressman Rogers wants the agency to carry out.   CMPI will be releasing a study, supported by the Kauffman foundation, that estimates how much innovation and health value our nation will forfeit if CER becomes the focus of commercialization instead personalized medicine.   The estimates, even with conservative assumptions built in, are staggering.  

Every time someone at FDA has to pay lip service to CER it is a signal to companies that all the work put in on diagnostics, combination products and targeted treatments will go to naught because they have to wait for a bunch of underachieving health economists and other professionals to conduct systematic reviews or horizon scams, I mean scans, or clinical trials.   Then again, as I noted in my last post, it looks at though PCORI will be handing out dough to to figure out how to conduct patient-centered research and how to engage patients, though the last time I checked no one -- except the stakeholders who will also get the PCORI cash --  was asking for such government help. 

You want to make medicine patient-centered?  Produce patient-centered medicine.   Tools and treatments that reduce hassles, improve life, increase health. 

That's something FDA can, should and is trying to do in collaboration with companies.  If you asked people should we spend $3 billion on medical decision making or the same amount making better medicines more quickly available to people who need them, I don't have any doubt that faster approvals would win.

The FDA could do a lot with $3 billion over the next decade and do much more for our health and nation than PCORI ever will.  Just a suggestion if Congressman Rogers wants to amend his bill....


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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