Comparative Studies Of Medications Ineffective, Based On 'Bias'

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A new comparative effectiveness "movement," in which consumer advocatescompare older drugs with newer versions to determine which are morecost effective and efficient, seems to make decisions based on "bias orfear, not science," Robert Goldberg, vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, writes in a Washington Times opinion piece.

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Accordingto Goldberg, while the "evidence-based crowd wants us to trust themthat their approach to research is purer and better, ... comparativeeffectiveness trials are rigged to demonstrate cheaper drugs are moreeffective, even at the expense of patient well-being." Goldberg noted acase in which the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment toPrevent Heart Attack Trial "concluded that diuretics were morecost-effective in reducing death from all forms of heart failure (notheart attacks) and were therefore cost-effective overall" than newerhypertension treatments, even though the "entire 'cost-benefit' of theolder drugs was driven entirely by a 40% excess stroke rate in blackpatients that was predictable before the study began."

He addsthat such studies "are rigged against new drugs and designed toeliminate the individual differences that are at the heart of the nextgeneration of personalized medicines" (Goldberg, Washington Times, 9/7).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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