Testing New Drugs
Published: October 25, 2007
Re â€œA Test of Bad Healthâ€ (Op-Ed, Oct. 18):
To the Editor:
Peter Pittsâ€™s criticism of the proposed Center for Comparative Effectiveness exemplifies the scare tactics used by the pharmaceutical industry to protect its interests.
While he cites one example of delayed drug approval in Britain, he doesnâ€™t mention the many cases in which comparative effectiveness studies have fostered timely and appropriate decisions to adopt or not adopt new drugs and other medical advances.
The use of government-sponsored studies to inform drug coverage decisions by government agencies is not â€œan inherent conflict of interest,â€ but rather the judicious exercise of government resources to serve the public interest.
Sadly, the casualties of President Bushâ€™s veto of the State Childrenâ€™s Health Insurance Program bill include not only the millions of children left uninsured, but also the hundreds of millions of Americans and their doctors who need better information to make the best possible decisions about their health care.
Alan B. Cohen
Boston, Oct. 18, 2007
The writer is a professor of health policy and management and the executive director of the Boston University Health Policy Institute.
To the Editor:
Peter Pitts warns that a proposed Center for Comparative Effectiveness to test new drugs would be dangerous because â€œconducting these studies is so tricky, their findings are regularly overturned or modified by further research.â€ Yet he would have us accept the companyâ€™s clinical trials showing the drug to be safe and effective?
One wonders why it is so tricky for the government to do this research, yet so simple for his pharmaceutical financiers to do the same.
Hamilton, N.Y., Oct. 18, 2007
After all, everyone's entitled to their opinion.