Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Turner: Big Brother Is Watching Your Doctor

In the 1/5/2012 Forbes, Grace-Marie Turner describes how "Big Brother Is Watching Your Doctor".

As she notes, one of the most ironic features of the new push for "comparative effectiveness research" (CER) is that it will pressure physicians into one-size-fits-all medicine at a time we are just beginning to develop the ability to tailor medical care for patients based on their individual characteristics:
These tailored medicines have little or no place in a one-size-fits-all world with mega government studies trying to determine which treatments work for the majority of people. The outliers who would respond exceptionally well to a particular drug will find that their doctor is afraid to recommend it for fear of going outside the government guidelines.

Newer drugs, particularly the biologics that can be tailored to an individual’s particular genetic code, are unlikely to be on the government's recommended lists.

This kind of rationing of care will be hard to detect and document as doctors simply don’t discuss, and may not even know about, a new drug or treatment that could save a patient's life. And when there is no market for these drugs, the companies that will produce them will find they simply cannot get the funding for future research and development of these new medicines.
(Read the full text of "Big Brother Is Watching Your Doctor".)

CER and other related government initiatives could strangle such promising innovations before they ever take hold, much to the detriment of millions of Americans.