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By Seth J. Baum, MD

Preventing a serious cardiac event is a top priority for my patients, but the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review is about to make prevention a whole lot harder. 

ICER is a Boston-based group of health economists that assess the cost-effectiveness of new drugs and devices. The group is wrapping up its review of 2 innovative high cholesterol treatments. The findings could affect the fate of millions of patients. ICER’s recommendations are known to influence health insurers’ coverage decisions. Yet ICER’s report, and the process that led to it, have several major flaws.

Each shortcoming increases the likelihood that ICER will come down with a one-size-fits-all recommendation for a high-risk patient population. Such economics-based decisions have the potential to keep patients from accessing the treatment that is best for them.

Conversely, individual patients benefit when their physicians have the ability to select the most appropriate treatments for them. This type of patient-centered care also has the potential to move the needle on the nation’s cardiovascular disease mortality rate. And ICER can’t put a value on that.

Seth J. Baum, MD, is a practicing cardiologist in Boca Raton, Florida and a member of the Alliance for Patient Access.

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