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Bill to provide comparison information on treatments to reach Senate vote


WASHINGTON A new bill named The Comparative Effectiveness Research Act of 2008 will be introduced to the Senate this week, according to published reports.

The act’s purpose is to create an institute that would evaluate drugs and medical devices and gauge their effectiveness against others purporting to treat the same conditions. The institute would run clinical trials as well as write clinical reviews comparing its findings with company-run tests for the drugs.

According to published reports, the Comparative Effectiveness Research Act is sponsored by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Max Baucus, D-Mont. The bill’s introduction stemmed from a public meeting held by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an organization that advises the Congress on Medicare issues.

The group has rallied behind the comparative effectiveness program and believes that the congress should create an independent entity to provide the results for the information it gathers, according to published reports.

This new act will serve as a way to give information on the value of drugs, and support credible information based on separate studies. MedPac has also advised that the institute should not be part of payment decisions or coverage information. The program will serve as another tool for consumers to make informed decisions on which treatments would be best for them based on information given and compared with other studies.

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