In Medicine, Falling for Fake Innovation

The New York Times

May 27, 2012, 7:49 pm

By EZEKIEL J. EMANUEL

THE sleek, four-armed “da Vinci” robot has been called a breakthrough technology for procedures like prostate surgery. “Imagine,” the manufacturer says, “having the benefits of a definitive treatment but with the potential for significantly less pain, a shorter hospital stay, faster return to normal daily activities.”

That’s just the kind of impressive-sounding innovation that critics of the health care reform act say will be stifled by the new law, with its emphasis on cost control and the comparative effectiveness of new pills and devices. “Instead of encouraging innovation,” wrote Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, in The Wall Street Journal, “it stifles creativity.” more…