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Biotech Industry Slams “Comparative Effectiveness”

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Aired 4/19/09

A federal initiative aimed at saving health care dollars has drawn the ire of San Diego's biotech community. KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge has more.

The stimulus bill signed by President Obama contains funding for research into existing drugs and medical treatments. The object is to learn what treatments work well, which ones don't, and eliminate funding for the latter. This could mean certain drugs wouldn't be covered by federal health programs or win FDA approval. Joe Panetta represents the biotech industry as the CEO of Biocomm. He says the approach ignores genetic research that shows drugs work differently for different people.

Panetta:  To take a broad brush approach and to say that one product is better for everyone than another product is not the direction we're headed in biotechnology.

Proponents of so-called comparative effectiveness say the U.S. spends far too much on health care, and it should eliminate ineffective treatments that cost a lot of money. Tom Fudge, KPBS News.

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