Comparative Effectiveness Necessary To Weigh New Drugs Against Old Ones, Opinion Piece Says
Patients and physicians "need to know not just whether a new drug outperforms a placebo, but whether it's a real advance on what's already on the market," Richard Friedman, a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, writes in a New York Times opinion piece. According to Friedman, "Doctors and patients alike are inundated by drug company marketing." Friedman states he has seen "scores of patients" who are "eager to get the latest antidepressant or mood stabilizer that promised them tranquility on their TV screens."
He continues that these new treatments are not necessarily better than older, proven treatments. Comparative effectiveness research would allow "head-to-head trials comparing new and standard treatments," which is why the practice has "provoked strong resistance from the makers of drugs and devices who fear that their fancy new products may not be any better than current ones," according to Friedman. He concludes, "I'd opt for an old drug with a known track record of efficacy and safety over an expensive newcomer with no added benefit -- any day of the week" (Friedman, New York Times, 5/19).