July 2nd, 2009

A Case for Comparative Effectiveness Research

From Pat Molino, Vice President, Public Affairs & Corporate Citizenship, Johnson & Johnson

How can doctors and patients know which therapies or procedures are the best ways to treat different medical conditions? Comparative effectiveness research, which compares therapeutic approaches, has been posited as a key way to get answers to these questions, and it’s become part of the ongoing health care reform debate in the U.S.

In an editorial in this morning’s Washington Post, Johnson & Johnson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Weldon shared his perspective on the topic. weldon In his editorial, Bill said that when used properly, comparative effectiveness research – or CER — can help create a more efficient, quality-focused, and patient-centered health care system that maintains incentives for innovation and growth. Though recognizing that there are “many patient groups, physicians and developers of treatments” who are concerned that CER could be used to restrict access to a broad range of treatments, Bill explained that:

“…that doesn’t have to be what happens here. By carefully allotting the stimulus funding, the federal government can lay the groundwork for how a permanent institute devoted to comparing treatments could work.

Achieving this goal involves addressing the concerns of those who worry about the impact of this research on access to treatment. What’s needed is a public-private entity focused on improving the evidence for treating individual patients. The institute should have open, transparent processes and consider the input of patients, consumers, physicians and other providers. It should focus on clinical effectiveness, not cost effectiveness.”

Read the entire editorial here.

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