Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Dr. Rich on comparative effectiveness research (CER)

Though not exactly his ideological twin I agree with a lot of what Dr. Rich has to say and would consider myself among his camp of “classical liberals” (go and read carefully what he means by that term before you draw any conclusions). Dr. Rich’s writings reflect considerable insight and skepticism of simplistic ideas about medicine and health care. So I’m a little surprised to find him arguing for CER. My problem with this is that the need for such an argument presupposes opposition to CER. Dr. Rich writes:

And now, despite the fact that it will further alienate many of those who might otherwise be his conservative brethren, DrRich formally endorses Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER).

Conservatives, everyone must know by now, have taken a formal position on CER - they’re against it.

OK, stop. Where are these people, conservatives or those of any ilk, who have taken a position against CER? Dr. Rich cites groups who are skeptical and very concerned about the new political agenda for CER, not CER itself. The popular claim that there’s all this opposition to CER seems like a straw man argument to me.

If all these folks are against CER per se why their silence up to now, about the large amount of CER we’ve already had for decades? Those who claim that doctors have no research evidence upon which to draw to decide which treatments are best for their patients are either disingenuous, extremely cynical or just plain ignorant. (I don’t accuse Dr. Rich of taking that position, by the way).

1 comment:

DrRich said...


Thanks for your observations. I have considered your commentary and have responded in a new post: