Bill would create office to oversee comparative effectiveness research

As we've reported previously, the comparative effectiveness provision in the stimulus package turned out to be a political hot potato, with some opponents--notably pharma and medical device firms--essentially arguing that it will be used against them. Others have argued that this research would be used to deny coverage for needed treatments, and that cost would factor too strongly in these decisions.

Now, in an effort to diffuse some of these tensions, a Democratic group within Congress has proposed a bill that would create a non-governmental, independent office tasked with overseeing such research. Right now, as the stimulus bill is written, a panel of government health experts would be in charge of reviewing comparative effectiveness studies.

The bill, backed by the centrist New Democrat Coalition, would create an office known as the Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Institute. The Institute would use money left over from the $1.1 billion budgeted for the research for its operations. Members would include HHS officials, patients, physicians, commercial health plans and other stakeholders.

In yet another gesture designed to calm critics' fears, the bill requires that HCCERI publicly disclose the methods it uses for deciding which research projects to approve, any links the institute has to industry, research protocols and names of researchers.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report item

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