To the editor:
The Journal-World reports that Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., is against funding research to determine the best ways to treat ailments. Really? Let me get this straight, Tiahrt wants doctors to guess which treatments are effective or make life-and-death decisions based on trial and error?
Comparative effectiveness research has improved patient care by revealing that expensive surgeries such as arthroscopic knee surgery and vertebroplasty provide no more pain relief than sham (fake) surgery. As a patient, wouldn’t you want to know that before you subjected yourself to general anesthetic and weeks of painful post-surgery rehabilitation?
What about the expensive “red pill” and cheaper “blue pill”? Wouldn’t you want your insurance company to pay for the more expensive red pill if comparative effectiveness research showed that it was indeed better than the cheaper blue pill?
Some may question why taxpayer dollars should fund this kind of research. Who do you want to fund this research: the National Institutes of Health, an agency that derives no financial benefit from the success of a particular drug, or a drug company that stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars if their drug does not outperform another drug?
Doctors need this research. Patients benefit from this research. Don’t let politicians like Tiahrt compromise the quality of health care for their cynical political gain.