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Fewer Drugs, Shorter Lives, Less Prosperity: The Impact of Comparative Effectiveness Research on Health and Wealth

  • John VernonEmail author
  • Robert Goldberg
  • Peter J. Pitts
  • Joseph H. Golec
Commentary

Abstract

  1. 1.

    Advocates of comparative effectiveness re search (CER) claim it can be used to reduce health care spending because a large portion pays for medical technologies that add little health or social beneft. This assumption runs counter to evidence that medical innovation is associated with lower and greater longevity.

     
  2. 2.

    To the extent that CER is used to reduce the development and use of new drugs, devices, and diagnostics, it is important to estimate what impact the reduced rate of innovation would have on quality of life and life expec tancy.

     
  3. 3.

    Using empirical models that establish a di rect relationship between pharmaceutical re turns on investment and clinical development costs, we developed an estimate of the cost of CER and its impact on rates of R&D.

     
  4. 4.

    We found that CER could conservatively in crease R&D costs by an amount equal to 50 percent of the most complex and time-consum ing part of drug development. The added cost would reduce R&D spending by $32 billion over 10 years.

     
  5. 5.

    Based on research that quantifed the rela tionship between increased R&D and greater life expectancy and well-being, we conclude that CER would cost Americans 81 million life years and $4 trillion.

     
  6. 6.

    CER advocates ignore the impact of such re quirements at the possible expense of longer life and economic growth.

     

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Copyright information

© Drug Information Association, Inc 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Vernon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert Goldberg
    • 2
  • Peter J. Pitts
    • 2
  • Joseph H. Golec
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health Policy and AdministrationUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Center for Medicine in the Public InterestUSA
  3. 3.Department of FinanceUniversity of ConnecticutUSA

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