FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin
Jan. 21, 2005 | Vol. 2 No. 15
HHS ADVOCATES EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE INITIATIVE
An evidence-based approach to medicine -- in which treatments are compared and selected based on effectiveness and value -- can lower costs and improve healthcare services, according to HHS officials.
By linking coverage to the gathering of important clinical data, Medicare can provide broader and more effective coverage for medical treatments, said Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The approach gives better evidence for patients, physicians and policymakers to make informed healthcare decisions, McClellan said at an Alliance for Health Reform forum on the reality and potential of evidence-based medicine. "In turn, that means more benefits in the treatments that we use, fewer missed opportunities in terms of unnecessary or ineffective treatments -- all because we are empowering doctors and patients. And that means better health for what we spend in our healthcare system," he said.
CMS plans to issue a guidance in March summarizing its policies on implementing an evidence-based approach for government health programs, he said, including the more than $500 billion Medicare drug benefit.
Already, CMS has used the approach to expand access to some pharmaceutical products, McClellan said. For example, CMS recently made a coverage decision involving colon cancer drugs. "We provided some coverage for studies involving important but unproven uses that are not on the label," McClellan said.
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