Helping MDs prescribe the best drugs

After an unfortunate encounter with a jellyfish (and the first aid team that tried to help him), Jerry Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School, examines how doctor's choices for prescription drugs are often un-uniform and out of date. Avorn notes that there are two major problems when it comes to a physician's understanding of prescription drug. First, there's no system in place that tests similar treatments in head-to-head trials. Experimental drugs are tested against placebos, but that doesn't tell doctors which treatment is best if there's a choice of, say, five. Also, even if this information were available, there is no set way to communicate the most up-to-date findings to doctors, which means that docs often rely on drug reps to learn about new treatments. "All of us need access to current, noncommercial medical information. Besides helping to contain our runaway medication expenditures, programs of this kind could prevent a lot of needless suffering--by patients and doctors alike," notes Avorn in a New York Times Op-Ed.

To read more
- check out his Op-Ed at the New York Times