HHS Should Establish Single Database On Effectiveness Of Drugs

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The Institute of Medicine in a report released on Thursday called for the creation of a single,public database that gauges the effectiveness of drugs and health services, Reutersreports. IOM said such a database could help eliminate spending on ineffectivetreatments and reduce the $2 trillion in annual health spending. The reportsaid Congress should direct HHS to establish and fund a program to evaluatehealth services and review clinical studies (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 1/24).

According to the report, the database could house a "credible, unbiasedand understandable synthesis" of studies, which "could help minimizethe use of questionable services and target services to the patients mostlikely to benefit."

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The report laid out plans for a private or public-private entity that couldproduce the database (Walker, CQ HealthBeat, 1/24).

The report said, "If conducted properly, the systematic review should makeobvious the gap between what is known about the effectiveness of a particularservice and what clinicians and patients want to know."

Barbara McNeil, a report author and head of the department of health carepolicy at Harvard School of Medicine, said, "We need a way tosynthesize data about the effectiveness of health care products and services ina standardized, objective fashion that will be considered reliable andtrustworthy by all decision makers" (Reuters, 1/24).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.

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