High-Priced Drugs and Medical Devices: Event Summary


Summary by The Market Institute of a Center for American Progress forum.

The publication of this summary does not constitute an endorsement of the positions presented.

The Center for American Progress hosted a forum on Jan. 16, 2014 examining the benefits of higher cost drugs and medical devices in patient outcomes. Often physicians have to choose between treatments without knowing which one will work best and whether the higher priced one will provide any added benefit. Three physicians on the panel, all with experience in the comparative effectiveness of drugs and medical devices, provided their insights as well as the Executive Director of the Affordable Care Act created Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Topher Spiro, Vice President for Health Policy, Center for American Progress, said in his opening remarks that the Affordable Care Act is more than just the health exchanges. There were many cost measures included in the legislation that will ultimately help patients.

The featured speaker, Joe Selby, Executive Director at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute said in his opening remarks that his organization funds many studies that support multiple outcomes for patients instead of just two outcomes. They are looking forward to supporting many large CER (Comparative Effectiveness Research) studies. An evidence based approach to deciding care is exactly what they would like to do to enhance patient decision making. There is a overall distrust of the CER due to the lack of clinical outcome data. Cost-effectiveness needs to be done locally and not country-wide due to the difference in pricing across the nation.

During the panel discussion, Peter Bach, M.D., Attending Physician, Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center said:

  • Driving science is important for CER and thus better outcomes
  • There’s many examples of costs overseas that are 50% to 60% cheaper than they are here

During the panel discussion, Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D. Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Vice Provost, University of Pennsylvania said:

  • True innovations are needed and not just new drugs/devices that have no substantiated research it is indeed better
  • There are many diseases, like MS, that need new innovation. There also other diseases that have no treatment that need that research for new treatments
  • He doesn’t think trying to change the FDA’s outlook on medical devices will go anywhere

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