Thursday, July 30, 2009

Comparative Effectiveness Reasearch is Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) sounds so simple and right. Find out what treatment works best and use it. Reality, however, is more complex. Treatments are approved by the FDA (presumably) because they work. When you compare 2 treatments head to head you usually find that one works best in some people, the other works best in some people, both work for some and neither works for some. Time and money would be better spent figuring out what subset of the population each treatment is best for. Put another way, what's really needed is research that helps us predict which treatment will work for an individual and why each treatment that works for some fails on others. If we know why a treatment fails we're a step ahead in finding new treatments that will work.

In short, Comparative Effectiveness Research is sound bite science and I expected better of Obama