Tufts doc warns of industry influence on health reform

The pharma watchdogs at Gooz News point out that: 

The latest New England Journal of Medicine contains a scathing perspective denouncing the Senate’s health care reform bill for giving industry too much control over a new comparative effectiveness research (CER) agency, an issue I tried to call attention to in Health Tech Review (Sept. 28, 2009). The Senate bill guarantees at least three of 15 slots on the new CER agency’s board to industry representatives, and would involve those board members in designing studies.

For the uninitiated, comparative effectiveness research (CER) is the study of what works and what doesn’t in health care. So, while industry should have a seat at the table, know that they are likely to take this position — the stuff I sell works. 

One of the authors is Dr. Harry Selker  of Tufts, who “studies the factors that affect clinical care and its outcomes, and develops treatment strategies, decision aids, and computer-based systems for improving care.  He is known for a series of studies of the factors influencing emergency cardiac care, including clinical, socioeconomic and gender issues, and is particularly known for the development of cardiac “clinical predictive instruments.”  These decision aids provide emergency physicians with predictions of their patients’ key outcomes for real-time use in clinical care.”

 So, he knows this stuff and it may have saved you life if you ended up in the New England Medical Center with a heart attack

 Here’s what he says in NEJM.

 If health care reform legislation does not promote CER that is free of the potential taint of commercial and political meddling, the public will have little confidence in the results of such research. This outcome would be extremely unfortunate, since such research has the potential to improve patients’ lives by leading to more effective medical care. The U.S. biomedical research enterprise has a long and storied history that has made it a model for other countries. It would be a tragedy if we were to squander its achievements for political expediency, in the service of short-term commercial interests. The current proposals for controlling CER in a manner unlike anything we have seen in federally sponsored biomedical research therefore should be rejected.



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