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In this era of concern about soaring health care spending, economists have raced to devise calculators to capture the true value of a drug — and sometimes concluded that pricey therapies may not be worth their cost.

But how accurate are these calculators? A new white paper, released on Thursday by an organization that’s partly funded by drug and diagnostics makers contends that such value measures are usually deeply flawed and could inadvertently set back the push to personalize care. But a group that developed one such calculator critiqued by the new report told STAT that the white paper mischaracterizes its work.


The white paper’s central critique: These calculators rarely reflect the diagnostic advances that make one patient far more likely than another with the same condition to benefit from a drug. Such flawed analysis could hinder the rise of personalized medicine, the report warns, if it prompts an insurer or doctor to withhold an ideal treatment.

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