Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) chimes in on the manufactured controversy surrounding comparative effectiveness research (CER):
When I do something for a patient, I want the scientific research that tells me its the best course for my patient. But the far right, led by people like Rush Limbaugh, hopes to somehow convince Americans that more and better research is a bad thing. Medicine is and should always be science based – not driven by ideology.
A doctor’s perspective has a way of swaying skeptics, and Dean’s testimony goes a ways in unraveling the fear-based arguments of the other side. He pits pragmatism and common sense against the right’s orgy of emotional hysteria.
Dean personalizes this debate — comparative effectiveness can help save patient lives by keeping doctors informed on the latest medical treatments — and couples it with some reasoned debunks. Progressives tend to focus on the latter wonky responses without considering the real-world consequences of CER for individual patients.
“Physicians need an authoritative source of unbiased data, untainted by the influence of drug companies and device manufacturers,” he writes. “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.”