Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Comparison Of Medical Treatments

It has been a long, long time since the government had a large-scale study intended to compare the medications designed to treat a single condition. This is coming after the onset of a new legislation, mandating $787 billion be allocated as economic stimulus. The substantial amount of money is intended for the federal government to find which medications are the best treatments for any given condition. The bill also includes cash to compare medical devices, surgical procedures, and other treatments for specific conditions.

The program was developed due to a concern that has been growing among doctors and patients recently concerning the lack of solid evidence on the effectiveness of numerous medications, procedures, and treatments. The basic idea was to use the research results as a way to determine which treatments really do work – or at least have a reasonable chance of working – and which ones don't, allowing people in both the public and private sectors to discourage the use of costly-but-ineffective treatments and drugs. With the soaring costs of health care becoming a potential economic problem, many believe cutting costs on ineffective medications would be a good idea. The plan involves the use of numerous systematic reviews of published studies, clinical trials, and detailed comparisons of existing treatments. It is worth noting that none of the money involved will go into researching new treatments.

There are, however, a few that worry about the implications of this. There are some groups that do not believe the enforcement of treatment guidelines would be a positive change for some patients. There are also others that contend that a single study may not be enough to truly verify how effective something is, or whether or not one treatment is more effective than another. However, the intention is simply cut down on the use of expensive treatments that are not as effective as others, rather than cut out these options entirely.

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