Science? We don’t need no stinking science!!

There is something very amusing about the spectacle of physicians and medical device companies finding protection under the banner of “science” and then rejecting scientific research when it has a potential negative effect on their practices.

Such is the current tussle over “comparative effectiveness research” which aims to use scientific analysis to make decisions about which medical treatments the taxpayers dollars should spent on.

Here is a link to a New York Times article focused on this issue:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/business/07compare.html?_r=1&hpw

…..”It was in the mid-1990s, when Dr. Deyo helped develop federal guidelines urging surgeons not to perform spinal fusions to treat acute pain. The reason was simple: There was little evidence that the fusions worked in many patients.

Spine specialists quickly attacked the report, calling it flawed. One medical device maker, Medtronic, sued unsuccessfully to block its release. Republican lawmakers tried to kill the agency that issued the report. It survived, but its funding was drastically cut, and it decided to stop issuing guidelines.”……

….“If this research (on comparative effectiveness) is done in a rigorous way and doesn’t pull strings, then a lot of pressure will come to bear,” on the process, said Dr. Deyo, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.”….

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