On the GoozNews blog, Merrill Goozner dissects the recent decision by the US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make more lenient the criteria it uses to decide which off-label anti-cancer drugs it will pay for. Now any drug rated favorably in at least one of several drug compendia will be approved. Yet it turns out that intricate, but important conflicts of interest may affect how drugs get positive reviews in some of the compendia. It does seem that nearly every piece of our fiendishly complex health care system is affected by conflicts of interest. To put the most positive interpretation on it, most US government agencies that deal with health care seem to have operated up to now in ignorant bliss when it comes to these conflicts.
NB: see also the post by Dr Howard Brody on the Hooked: Ethics, Medicine and Pharma blog, and the links he provides.
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