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June 17, 2009

Does Comparative Effectiveness Have a Comparative Edge?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Hospitals and MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, and Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Pharmacy (Dr Alexander); and Program on Prevention Outcomes and Practices, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California (Dr Stafford).

JAMA. 2009;301(23):2488-2490. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.851

Researchers, policy makers, insurers, and other stakeholders have voiced enthusiasm about the value of comparative effectiveness research that rigorously evaluates 2 or more drugs or devices. The most recent boost for these efforts has been the US congressional financial stimulus package that contains provisions for $1.1 billion to be devoted to this effort.1 The appeal of comparative effectiveness research is undeniable. If there is one issue that stakeholders agree about, it is that increasing health care costs are ultimately unsustainable and society needs more value for its money. However, it is not clear that comparative effectiveness research, as it is commonly framed, has a comparative advantage when it comes to improving the US health care system.

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