Health Group Asks Congress To Create National Drug Data Resource

The U.S. Institute of Medicine called on Congress today to “establish a single national resource of health information.” The resource would collect all available data on every drug in the marketplace, and be available to consumers to educate themselves about any and all possible treatments in order to make better-informed decisions with their doctors.

“We need a way to synthesize data about the effectiveness of health care products and services in a standardized, objective fashion that will be considered reliable and trustworthy by all decision makers,” said Dr. Barbara McNeil of Harvard School of Medicine, who worked on the report.

“A system coordinated by a single, national entity that can prioritize and coordinate these evaluations would enable us to sort the wheat from the chaff and make sense of it all,” McNeil said in a statement.

They also want Congress to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a review program that would monitor clinical services and research studies.

“Report seeks one-stop source for health info” [Reuters]
(Illustration: Getty)

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  1. laserjobs says:

    Isn’t that what Wikipedia is for?

  2. RottNDude says:

    It already exists:

    [www.revolutionhealth.com]

  3. bohemian says:

    Mayo and Pubmed have decent databases of information but Pubmed is a bit over the head of some consumers.

    If it would put an end to internet predators like the Kinoki foot pads and that kind of thing it would be a good move.

  4. sven.kirk says:

    If you actually read the article, the “report” is just a bunch of hogwash.

    “It recommends that Congress establish a single national resource of health information.” OK. I thought that what the FDA is for.

    “…a single, national entity that can prioritize and coordinate these evaluations.” Wow. It already exists. It is the FDA.

    I am in no way saying that they are perfect. But it is better than the alternative.

  5. bitterdark says:

    Instead of PubMed consumers should be using MedlinePlus. It has consumer level info on prescription, over-the-counter and supplements. Also, DailyMed will eventually include all of the FDA approved drugs. And a big drug portal is in the works already

    Yes, I work for the government agency that developed all of these databases.

  6. ExtraCelestial says:

    @sven.kirk: The FDA is an association. A group of people. What they’re suggesting is a resource of information. A thing. The FDA could run and put together the resource, but they themselves could not be a website/book/magazine or whatever medium they use. Yes both nouns. Kinda the same but actually no, not at all.

    I personally think it’s a fabulous idea. You get a lot of mixed information online and get redirected to shady websites when you google a drug. And unfortunately in this day and age you can’t just rely on doctors to always prescribe without a hidden agenda. I’m thinking something like a federally regulated webmd.

  7. Red_Eye says:

    @RottNDude: and at [www.askapatient.com] a good resource (when taken with a critical eye).

  8. topgun says:

    @RottNDude: No they want a government funded one so it’s sure to be screwed up.
    @sven.kirk: You’re right but why have one incompetent agency when you can have two?
    Remember, anytime it starts with “F” that mean “F-ed Up”
    Makes me think of appointing General Lute as the “War Czar” to oversee both wars…or however many there are…or military actions…whatever you want to call them. Anybody ever hear from him? He didn’t go hunting with Dick Cheney did he?

  9. tk427 says:

    It’s a start.
    The next step is doing away with the drug advertisements, drug reps buying off doctors, etc.

  10. facted says:

    @tk427: I personally think that’s the FIRST step. One can argue whether physicians are truly swayed by marketing pitches, but the cost of marketing to pharm companies including all those damn TV commercials is astronomical. That all comes from our drug prescription costs…

  11. stacye says:

    I know there are several databases out there that keep track of these things (as noted in the comments), but one thing that is really lacking is a breakdown of information from clinical trials.

    Oftentimes my doctor (and my husbands doctor) are not fully aware of the side effects of the medication they prescribe, and it would be helpful if these databases include side effects, as well as a percentage of how often these side effects occurred in clinical trials. Also a percentage breakdown of how effective the medication was at aiding the patient would be helpful.

  12. Erskine says:

    “www.PDR,net, anyone? PDR.net? Bueller…?”

  13. TWSS says:

    @stacye: This may be related to the story that’s been going around about how many drug companies aren’t publishing clinical trials or other studies that show their products in a negative light. I heard the editor of a medical journal on NPR the other day talking about this. Apparently while 80-something percent of positive trials are submitting for publication, only 10-ish percent of negative ones are.

    What the medical journals want to do it have the pharmas submit their proposals for clinical trials before they even start, so the journals can keep track of how many are eventually submitted for publication. They would also refuse to publish the results of any study they hadn’t been notified of before it began.

    Here’s a link to the NPR segment: [www.npr.org]

  14. gibbersome says:

    @RottNDude:

    I’m not sure I’m comfortable looking for medical advice on a site that clearly needs online pharmaceutical advertising for marketing revenue.

  15. gibbersome says:

    Moreover, we should all be very weary of anything that comes out of Harvard University. That’s where we got George Bush from.