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Applying Cost-Benefit Analysis to Pharmaceuticals
Watchdogs can be controversial, particularly when analyzing as sensitive a subject as the cost-benefit effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, "the provincial government enthusiastically embraced a recommendation to scuttle the Therapeutics Initiative, which is the only independent reviewer evaluating the claims of drug manufacturers from a cost-benefit point of view."

The taxpayer-funded TI describes itself as "an independent organization at The University of British Columbia dedicated to providing up to date, evidence based, practical information on rational drug therapy." The article claims that since TI "has found some...benefits to be overstated and the risks minimized. Its advice has saved the province tens of millions of badly needed health care dollars."

In contrast to the paperís views, the Report of the Pharmaceutical Task Force stated that it "recommends the replacement of the Therapeutics Initiative with a new process that would provide for a much wider array of expertise to consider the therapeutic value and cost-effectiveness of new drug therapies.... The Therapeutics Initiative is regarded by most who participated in this process...as narrow, insular and resistant to meaningful stakeholder engagement."

Any national health care plan considered by the next Administration may well include cost-benefit analyses of pharmaceutical products and other treatment options, a path fraught with both promise and peril. It is essential to the publicís physical and fiscal health that all such analyses be anchored by rigorous analytic standards and open, transparent processes.

See Report of the Pharmaceutical Task Force

See Therapeutics Initiative website

See Vancouver Sun story

 
 
 
 
 
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