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Blue Pill or Red Pill: The Limits of Comparative Effectiveness Research

Comparative effectiveness research (CER) has been heralded as a way to reduce health-care costs by determining which treatments provide the most benefit for the largest number of patients. This report warns that by choosing "winners and losers," CER drug trials may leave patients who best respond to the "losing" drug without coverage.

The report, conducted by researchers Tomas Philipson and Eric Sun of the Manhattan Institute's Project FDA, examines a CER trial for antipsychotic drugs in the Medicaid program and finds that applying restrictive reimbursement for "losing" drugs could actually reduce patient health and increase health-care costs. By limiting coverage for more expensive drugs that benefit patients outside the average, the authors find that worsened patient health would increase health-care costs by $1.3 billion, outweighing the Medicaid savings.

Dr. Philipson authored a related paper on this topic, "The Impact of Comparative Effectiveness Research on Health and Health Care Spending," that was published in the Journal of Health Economics website.

Newsletter Volume

E.V.I.dently October 2014

Message From NPCMind the Gap: Improving Quality Measurement in Accountable Care SystemsOur society is obsessed with quality, from the cars that we...
Blog Post

CER Tweets of the Week: Fendrick Elected to IOM, GAO Calls to Fill PCORI Methodology Committee Seat & More (October 20-24)

This week, comparative effectiveness research (CER) stakeholders tweeted about new appointments and open positions at top health care organizations....
YouTube Videos

Why are quality measures important? We asked health care thought leaders to tell us why.

Quality measurement, tied to financial incentives, is one of many approaches accountable care programs are using to promote system-wide improvement....
Blog Post

CER Tweets of the Week: The State of Accountable Care, JAMA on PCORI’s Perspective, Real-World Impact of CER (October 13-17)

Health care stakeholders tweeted about accountable care, patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and the real-world impact of comparative...
Press Release

Michael Ciarametaro Joins National Pharmaceutical Council as Director of Research

WASHINGTON, DC (July 31, 2014)—The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) today announced that Michael Ciarametaro has joined the health policy...
Press Release

NPC Study Outlines When & How Health Decision-Makers Should Consider Individual Patient Differences

Washington, DC (July 29, 2014)—New research led by the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) can assist health care stakeholders to understand when...
Press Release

NPC Annual Stakeholder Survey: Comparative Effectiveness Research Is Important, But Impact on Health Care Decision-Making Is Still on the Horizon

(Washington, DC, May 19, 2014)—A new survey of health care stakeholders reveals continued optimism for the use of comparative effectiveness research...
Press Release

CER Collaborative Improving Health Outcomes Through New Comparative Evidence Tools

(Washington, DC, March 24, 2014)—Three peer-reviewed articles published in Value in Health offer important guidance to aid formulary decision-makers...
Commentary and Testimony Page

NPC Comments on CMS' Proposed Changes to Protected Classes

March 7, 2014Marilyn B. TavennerAdministratorCenters for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesU.S. Department of Health and Human Services200 Independence...
Commentary and Testimony Page

The State of CER and the Environment for Health Care Decision Making

This month, NPC released its third annual survey on stakeholders’ views on comparative effectiveness research (CER), “The State of Comparative...
Commentary and Testimony Page

Keeping Our Eye on the CER Ball

Until the cherry blossoms begin to bloom later next month, most of the water cooler conversations in Washington will focus on the federal budget....
Commentary and Testimony Page

Leveling the Playing Field? Could a Landmark Decision Alter the CER Communications Landscape?

A growing chorus of voices is publicly sharing data on the effectiveness of treatment options, but one viewpoint has long been shut out of key areas...
YouTube Videos

Why are quality measures important? We asked health care thought leaders to tell us why.

Quality measurement, tied to financial incentives, is one of many approaches accountable care programs are using to promote system-wide improvement....
YouTube Videos

Real-World Impact of Comparative Effectiveness Research Findings on Clinical Practice

National Pharmaceutical Council Chief Science Officer Robert W. Dubois, MD, PhD, discusses a peer-reviewed study suggesting that changes are needed...
YouTube Videos

Shifting the Focus From "How Much" to "How Well" We Spend Our Health Care Dollars

A. Mark Fendrick, MD, director of the Center for Value-Based Insurance design at the University of Michigan, highlights the key findings from a...
YouTube Videos

Engaging Consumers in Today's Changing Health Care Payment and Delivery Environment

The current health care delivery system is evolving from a fee-for-service system to one that is performance-based. How does this shift impact...
Blog Post

CER Tweets of the Week: Fendrick Elected to IOM, GAO Calls to Fill PCORI Methodology Committee Seat & More (October 20-24)

This week, comparative effectiveness research (CER) stakeholders tweeted about new appointments and open positions at top health care organizations....
Blog Post

CER Tweets of the Week: The State of Accountable Care, JAMA on PCORI’s Perspective, Real-World Impact of CER (October 13-17)

Health care stakeholders tweeted about accountable care, patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and the real-world impact of comparative...
Blog Post

CER Tweets of the Week: Health Affairs on the High Value of Specialty Medications, Pediatric CER Guidelines, Patient Heterogeneity (October 6-10)

This week, comparative effectiveness research (CER) stakeholders tweeted articles about specialty medications, CER guidelines and individual...
Blog Post

Assessing the Value of Drugs for Formulary Decisions

Some of the National Pharmaceutical Council's (NPC) research partners participated today on a panel, "Best Practices for Assessing the Value of Drugs...

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