We need comparative effectiveness research, or, I agree with Paul Krugman for the first time ever

I usually disagree with pretty much everything that liberal rock star Paul Krugman writes from his pedestal at the New York Times.

However, when it comes to comparative effectiveness research, I’m with him 100 percent. Physicians need an authoritative source of unbiased data, untainted by the influence of drug companies and device manufacturers.

With treatments and medications announced daily, having an entity definitively compare these newer, and often more expensive, options with established treatment regimens will be particularly useful in everyday practice.

The only way to tackle such a huge project is with money, and indeed, the Obama administration recognizes this fact by including $1.1 billion in comparative effectiveness research in the economic stimulus package.

Clearly, the pharmaceutical and device industry would like both the public and physicians to continue to assume that “newer means better.” Not asking these questions allows them to continue promoting profit-making brand-name treatments.

Their motives in attempting to quash comparative effectiveness research could not be more obvious.

And for once, I concur with Mr. Krugman when he states, “This is truly vile.”

Duncan Cross, Robert Centor, and Bob Doherty offer their take on the issue.