August 01,2008

Baucus, Conrad Introduce Comparative Effectiveness Research Bill

Finance and Budget Committee Chairmen would create a national institute to compare effectiveness of medical treatments

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Budget
Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N. D.) introduced last night legislation to improve the
quality of health care that Americans receive, by creating national priorities for, and conducting
and distributing research findings on the effectiveness of different health care treatments. The
Comparative Effectiveness Research Act of 2008 will establish the Health Care Comparative
Effectiveness Research Institute to review evidence and produce new information on how diseases, disorders, and other health conditions can be treated to achieve the best clinical outcome for patients. The Congressional Budget Office has signaled that national health care spending could be reduced if physicians and patients had more unbiased data on the effectiveness of the treatments available to them.

“Doctors and patients need reliable, unbiased information about the effectiveness of treatments to determine the best care possible, but right now that data is scarce and
Baucus said. “This bill will advance the process of reviewing and producing
valuable information and making it available to health care providers, and to all Americans. Knowing more about the effect of different health interventions will improve  the treatment of diseases, help Americans better manage and prevent illness, and could lower health care costs for everyone. Making our health care system smarter and more effective begins with this step.”

“The fact is that our health care system is not as efficient as it should be, and that is driving
up costs,"
Conrad said. "With research, patients and their doctors can make better decisions
on treatment -- meaning we could lower costs and improve health care outcomes."

The Institute would work with experts and stakeholders to prioritize treatments for research –
including surgical procedures, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other measures. Research
would be conducted by trusted public and private organizations approved by the Institute’s
diverse board of directors, which would include doctors, patients, pharmaceutical and
biotechnology makers. Understandable information would be made available to clinicians,
patients and the public, so all Americans will have more of the kind of information they need to
avoid unnecessary treatments and be well-informed health care consumers.

A summary of the “Comparative Effectiveness Research Act if 2008” can be found in the printer-friendly version of this release.