If a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee, what is a comparative effectiveness policy that is being designed in great haste by two committees, a pair of federal agencies and a cabinet secretary? Perhaps it is Mr. Gump's seven hump Wump, made famous by Dr. Seuss in "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish."
Whatever the beast is called, it isn't likely to be an efficient vehicle for achieving the goals President Obama and senior members of his administration have set for comparative effectiveness research (CER), which is to develop the evidence needed to help "bend the curve" of increasing healthcare costs while dramatically improving the quality of care.
Two reports last week made suggestions about how to spend some of the $1.1 billion the government is preparing to invest in studies comparing the effectiveness of various medical interventions.
CER isn't the bête noir its opponents, including some in the pharmaceutical industry, have portrayed it as. Indeed, it is absurd for the leaders of a science-based endeavor like drug development to object to the collection of new information about how products work in