Efforts To Create Treatment Guidelines Are Often Complicated
The development of treatment guidelines for illnesses such as diabetes is a complicated process.
The New York Times reports: "The goal [of creating guidelines] is to improve treatment and, at the same time, save money. But setting guidelines that are good for every patient... can get messy, with some experts warning that a big national plan of this sort poses risks. A recent case involving treatment for diabetes, one of the nation's most pervasive illnesses, illustrates the difficulties."
"Last year, a national guideline-setting group abruptly withdrew a controversial diabetes standard it adopted in 2006 that called for aggressive control of blood sugar, or glucose. The change came after a large federal study indicated that lowering glucose too quickly or too much in some patients could harm or even kill them." In medical journal articles and other expert outlets over the last year, some experts lashed out at "the group's initial decision to approve the guideline, saying they warned back in 2006 that it was medically ill-advised for some patients. ... Critics like Dr. Hayward have also suggested that pharmaceutical companies influenced the guideline so they could sell more glucose-lowering drugs like insulin. The group that set the guideline, a Washington organization called the National Committee for Quality Assurance, received about $3 million, or 10 percent of its revenue, last year from drug and medical device makers" (Meier, 8/17).