Comparative Effectiveness Research- Why It Can Add Credibility to Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This paper argues that CER can be used to add credibility to certain types of CAM and examines some of the issues that could surface if CER becomes the new way of testing this type of medicine. Section One briefly covers the political evolution of CER in Washington since 2009. As of this writing, CAM has received little attention in public debates on CER. That said, an understanding of how CER has progressed through the national agenda is helpful for explaining the context in which CAM advocates will have to operate if they hope to get funding to test the effectiveness of their treatments. Section Two highlights some of the major reasons why CER should be used to evaluate CAM such as the need for a new research strategy and the fact that there is growing public support for CAM and CER as joint national priorities even though CAM was not a major issue in legislative debates. While not exhaustive, Section Three addresses areas of concern for CER, focusing on areas that directly relate to CAM such as cost effectiveness, the difficulties in defining “effectiveness,” and challenges in conducting blind clinical trials on CAM. Finally, the Conclusion makes recommendations for a CER public relations strategy and how CAM patients and practitioners can work toward gathering support for CER funding.
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