Drug, Medical Device Companies Worry Comparative Effectiveness Research Will Limit Patient Options
Drug and medical device companies, along with some members of Congress, have expressed concern that the $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research included in the economic stimulus package will yield findings that could be used to limit patients' options, the Wall Street Journal reports.
As part of the stimulus package, NIH and HHS are each set to receive $400 million and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is set to receive $300 million for conducting research comparing the effectiveness of different treatment options as a means to reduce use of wasteful and ineffective treatments. HHS has established an advisory committee to coordinate research and distribute the funds; the committee will hold a meeting on Tuesday to gather public input on how the funds for HHS should be spent. NIH has noted that it will consider funding research that aims to compare the cost-effectiveness of biologic drugs, cancer treatments and preventive measures for chronic diseases.
However, Lori Reilly, vice president for policy and research at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said, "We don't want (the research) to be used to deny access to care." Teresa Lee, vice president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, said using "this research to deny access to appropriate treatments for individual patients with individual medical histories and individual needs should not be the objective." Carolyn Clancy, director of AHRQ, said that "the overarching purpose of the program is to give clinicians and patients information on effectiveness, safety and costs" (Zhang, Wall Street Journal, 4/14).