Science-Based Medicine » Don’t call CAM “cost-effective” unless it’s actually effective

Somewhat an article for health policy wonks who are interested in cost-effectiveness methodologies and how complementary and alternative medicine studies relate to these methodologies and their overall effectiveness. Conclusion:

The highest quality evidence, and most rigorous clinical trials, have failed to identify complementary and alternative medicine interventions that offer meaningful clinical benefits. Lower quality trials are more likely to report positive findings, and economic analyses based on these studies should be expected to be biased towards findings of cost-effectiveness. Economic analyses that conclude treatments are cost effective are more likely to be published. The result is an economic house of cards. Given the variety of treatments, models and endpoints, systematic reviews are not useful tools to evaluate the overall cost-effectiveness of a disparate group of treatments. However, they may be useful in summarizing the types of studies that exist. Given the results of this systematic review, there is good evidence to suggest that economic analyses of CAM interventions do not generate useful or accurate estimates of cost-effectiveness.

Science-Based Medicine » Don’t call CAM “cost-effective” unless it’s actually effective.


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