Forum Session

Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Activities of NIH, FDA, and AHRQ to Advance Evidence-Based Health
September 26, 2008


Michele J. Orza, ScD


In developing an expanded federal capacity for comparative effectiveness, it will be instructive to draw on the experience and expertise of the numerous federal agencies involved in obtaining better information to guide health decisions. Many of these agencies have been engaged with the issues for decades, and many of their current activities fall under the rubric of comparative effectiveness. Much is at stake: how can the activities that are working well and are integral to the key functions of these agencies be preserved? How can greater sharing of expertise and linkages across public and private domains be stimulated? And how should new activities be positioned to maximize their effectiveness?

This session, the second in a six-part series intended to clarify the complex set of issues surrounding comparative effectiveness, examined the sometimes contentious evolution of the concept and discussed activities at three agencies extensively engaged in the development and assessment of health evidence: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). A subsequent session on October 3, 2008, provided data on current comparative effectiveness activities in both the public and private sectors, and examined three additional federal agencies engaged in the generation and application of evidence: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Veterans Health Administration.


Bryan R. Luce, PhD, Senior Vice President for Science Policy, United BioSource Corporation; Michael Lauer, MD, Director, Division of Prevention and Population Science, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health; Robert J. Temple, MD, Director, Office of Medical Policy, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration; Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Slides from the presentations by Dr. Luce, Dr. Lauer, Dr. Temple, and Dr. Clancy are available for download. Speakers' biographies are also available.

Related Materials

For more information on the other sessions in this series, see "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Fundamentals of Evidence-Based Health and Introduction to the Cochrane Collaboration" (July 25, 2008); "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Activities of CDC, VA, and CMS to Advance Evidence-Based Health" (October 3, 2008); "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Fundamentals and Controversies of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis" (October 30, 2008); "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Options for Expanding U.S. Capacity" (December 17, 2008); and "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Lessons from Across the States and Around the World" (February 27, 2009).


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