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Allen, Emerson to Sponsor Comparative Effectiveness Bill

By CQ Staff

May 4, 2007 -- Reps. Tom Allen, D-Maine, and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., plan to introduce legislation Monday that would increase federal investment in research to determine the most effective medicines and medical treatments.

The measure would authorize $3 billion over five years for research conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the federal agency that has done comparative effectiveness reviews on renal artery stenosis, anemia drugs used by cancer patients, and other items. Comparative effectiveness research compares outcomes associated with different therapies for the same condition, allowing providers and patients to avoid ineffective or costly treatments.

Among its provisions, the legislation would establish a comparative effectiveness advisory board appointed by the Comptroller General at the Government Accountability Office that includes employers, consumers, health care providers, researchers, and others, to provide input on research priorities and methodologies.

Separately on Monday, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is expected to announce its proposal for a public–private entity to explore the effectiveness of new and existing medical procedures, drugs, devices, and biologics.

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