Comparative drug info labeling helps doctors

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Stanford University researchers say that drug labeling would be much more informative for doctors and patients if it had to include comparative effectiveness information.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine's online edition, researchers led by Stanford Prevention Research Center's associate professor of medicine, Randall Stafford, said that without comparative effectiveness information, drug labels “may create confusion as manufacturers strive to insulate their products from price competition through differentiation that is unrelated to health outcomes. If the FDA label were required to indicate what is and is not known about a product's superiority to other treatments, then clinicians, patients and payers would be less willing to pay more for a treatment without proof that it improved health outcomes.”

The researchers said many new drugs are approved on the basis of demonstrated superiority to placebo, creating a climate that favors development of “me-too” drugs.

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