American Association for Cancer Research



                                                                                                              JULY 2009



The Institute of Medicine and the Federal Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research provide advisory reports to the President and Congress

Two advisory committee reports were released late last month that provide guidance for advancing the use of comparative effectiveness research aimed at better understanding and comparing the clinical merits of different treatments, devices and procedures.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated $1.1 billion to "accelerate the development and dissemination of research assessing the comparative effectiveness of health care treatments and strategies." The law specifically allocated $400 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $300 million to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and $400 million to be dispersed at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

To assist the HHS with the allocation of its discretionary funds, the economic stimulus act also established a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research to provide for the coordination and oversight of the research funds and asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to provide recommendations on national funding priorities. Each of these reports was released on June 30 to the President and Congress.

While comparative effectiveness research has been occurring for decades across the U.S. in both private and public sectors, the money apportioned from the stimulus package may be a harbinger of a much greater expansion. The concept of comparative effectiveness research is gaining in popularity among a segment of policymakers as a means of improving the health care system and reducing costs. The support is not universal, however, and as Congress continues to debate health care reform, comparative effectiveness is one issue causing intense, partisan debate on Capitol Hill.



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