Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why Evidence Based Medicine is hard

Grrr…  I see the Lund Report carried a press release from a device manufacturer lamenting Medicare's decision to drop coverage of their product for treating chronic lower back pain.  In a different universe that article would have been written by a third party without a direct financial interest and it would have been called, "Clinical studies show that TENS units offer no benefit in treating chronic lower back pain, Medicare to stop wasting tax payer money on them."  But that would be a universe in which health care wasn't eating the economy, not ours.  Why did Lund Report run this?  I'll speculate:
  • It was there, and free.  The manufacturer had a financial interest in getting its message out that was not matched by any organization on the other side of the decision.  Nothing from EBM promoters, nothing from those supposedly concerned with Medicare solvency, nothing at all.
  •  There is a community with a strong interest in seeing coverage continued:  current and prospective patients.  Which narrative would those people rather see:  That what they've been doing is a waste of time and money, or that government is corrupt and denying them what is rightfully theirs?  Take a guess.
Whatever the reasons, thinking about why this article was run sheds light on why the public has a hard time accepting evidence based medicine.  And no, it has nothing to do with government vs. private insurance.

ps yes, this is another example of Republicans defending ineffective medicine.

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