Consumer Reports Uses AHRQ’s Evidence Reports in Drug Comparisons
Consumer Reports magazine and affiliated publications use evidence reports from AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Centers Program to inform consumers and clinicians about prescription drugs. The non-profit organization's Best Buy Drugs public education project compares medications' track records on effectiveness and safety, as well as prices.
"The quality [of AHRQ's reviews] is superior to most other reviews out there," observed Steve Mitchell, associate editor at Consumer Reports. Mr. Mitchell said AHRQ reviews include broad reviews of a drug category, lack conflicts, and do not rely on industry funding. "We've used the AHRQ evidence reports for many of the Best Buy Drugs reports we've produced," he noted.
Best Buy Drugs reports based on AHRQ evidence reviews receive wide distribution, either through the organization's Web site, publication in Consumer Reports magazine, or via articles developed by news organizations. For example, information in Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs publication on Alzheimer's disease drugs was based largely on a 2010 AHRQ Evidence Report, Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Decline, and made available to more than 8 million people thorough Consumer Reports publications and a Washington Post op-ed article.
"That review really stood out," said Mr. Mitchell. "With Alzheimer's disease, people are desperate, and doctors are prescribing medicines even though the drugs don't do that much. The [AHRQ] review carried a lot of weight."
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs reports on diabetes medicines, anticoagulants, and allergy medications also drew heavily from AHRQ evidence reports, Mr. Mitchell said.
The Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs reports that draw upon AHRQ-sponsored information are based on unbiased evidence reports and comparative effectiveness reviews produced by the Agency's Evidence-Based Practice Centers (EPCs). Comparative effectiveness reviews developed by AHRQ's EPC Program are often translated into plain language summaries for consumers and concise "Clinician Research Summaries" for health professionals.
"Consumer Reports recommendations based on AHRQ reports have reached millions of people," noted Doris Peter, Ph.D., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. "The value [of the AHRQ reviews] is really having this unbiased review."