Tuesday, August 05, 2008

BLOGSCAN - A Proposed Comparative Effectiveness Institute

On the Health Beat Blog, Maggie Mahar discussed a bill in the US Senate proposing the formation of a comparative effectiveness institute. It has one striking drawback. The board of the proposed institute, which would include representatives of "private payers; [and] pharmaceutical, device and technology companies." Both groups have financial interests favoring comparative effectiveness studies with particular groups. Private payers make more money when they can avoid paying for expensive tests, treatments, and other forms of care. They would prefer to see comparative effectiveness studies that find that more expensive tests, treatments, etc do not work so well. Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and device companies would prefer to see comparative effectiveness studies that find their products work well. Because of these conflicts of interest, neither representatives of private payers nor representatives of pharmaceutical, biotechnology or device companies should be on the board of this institute.


Anonymous said...

And doctor's never have a conflict of interest?

BTW, before I get attacked unfairly, I am in 100% agreement with your points. However, doctor's have massive conflicts (who do you think drives the demand for ineffective treatment?)

Roy M. Poses MD said...

Anonymous - obviously, you are not a regular reader of this blog.

If you were, you would have noticed that we frequently address physicians' (and other health care professionals' and health care leaders') conflicts of interest.

By the way, I would also oppose appointing conflicted physicians to the board of the proposed new institute.

Anonymous said...

who do you think drives the demand for ineffective treatment?

How about:

1. Patients, in demanding the latest they're read about; such as antibiotics for sore throats;
2. The media, through advertising;
3. Pharma;
4. Chiropractors;
5. Lawyers working in the field known as "Workers compensation fraud."

to name just a few.