Bad reporting on CER

Health reporters bear some of the responsibility for passing on PhRMA-funded work in misleading news reports.  As reported in Fierce Healthcare:

Comparative effectiveness research could cost the nation trillions of dollars in economic activity and shorten the lives of Americans, concludes a new report from the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

Comparative effectiveness research is considered one of the cornerstones of healthcare reform, with its findings reaffirming certain medical practices and reducing excess or unnecessary care, notes Healthcare Finance News.

However, a study by the non-partisan CMPI contends that using such research in streamlining healthcare delivery would stifle investment in researching new treatments and drugs.

Some quick comments:

  1. CMPI isn’t “non-partisan” but is a PhRMA-funded think tank, according to SourceWatch.
  2. CER – if done right – will pay more for outstanding innovation and less for me-to drugs.  That sends better signals to the market, saving both lives and money.
  3. At least one of the authors of this study (John A Vernon at UNC Chapel Hill) should know better, since his family has a long history of academic research in the pharmaceutical sector.
  4. Perhaps the argument is that CER won’t be done right, that inept bureaucrats will punish the great drugs while rewarding the marginal.  If so, make that argument plainly in news stories like this.


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