• Past inventories of comparative effectiveness research

    OK, OK, it’s not as if literally nobody has ever done an inventory of comparative effectiveness (CE) research. But don’t get too excited, there aren’t many examples.  Michael Hochman and Danny McCormick published one n JAMA in 2010, “Characteristics of Published Comparative Effectiveness Studies of Medications.”

    We identified all randomized trials, observational studies, and meta-analyses involving medications published in the 16-month period between June 1, 2008, and September 30, 2009, in the 6 general medicine and internal medicine journals with the highest impact factor (New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, BMJ, and Archives of Internal Medicine). […]

    We identified 104 CE medication studies. […] These CE medication studies represent 32% of all randomized trials, observational studies, and meta-analyses involving medications during this time period.

    Not to knock their work, but this is obviously a very thin slice of the literature. Still, Hochman and McCormick have made an important contribution. Maybe there’s more out there? They tell us not to get our hopes up.

    Despite the recent interest in CE research, only limited information is available about existing CE studies. Two previous inventories of CE research (not peer-reviewed) provide only basic information about the characteristics of CE studies.

    Here are references to those two, as listed in Hochman’s and McCormick’s paper:

    US Department of Health and Human Services. Comparative effectiveness research funding: Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. http://web.archive.org/web/20130514174203/http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/ /cer/index.html .

    Jacobson GA. CRS report for Congress: comparative clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness research: background, history, and overview: October 15, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20130224095048/http://aging.senate.gov/crs/medicare6.pdf .


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    • Just think, every drug approved by the FDA has to have a study of comparative effectiveness, unless it is for a disease that was formerly untreatable (ie a miniscule percentage of the drugs). I presume the FDA has standards of research, that make the studies good, even if they were never published in any journal, not to mention a place like Lancet — if the FDA has no or inadequate research standards, that’s a huge problem, in and of itself.