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Better health care at lower cost. That’s what comparative effectiveness research promises, but can it deliver? A new study argues that federal comparative effectiveness research won’t generate cheaper, better medical care to the American public. Instead, it will force cuts in pharmaceutical and medical device research and development, resulting in 32 million lost years of life and economic losses totaling $1.7 trillion.
Among lots of different possible treatments for a disease, comparative effectiveness research (CER) aims at figuring out the relative effectiveness of different medical interventions. As President Barack Obama explained, “If there’s a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that’s going to make you well?” Sounds very sensible, right?