The need for a national infrastructure to improve the rational use of therapeutics.
The current medical care environment has created expectations that exceed its capabilities, one effect of which has been an increasing awareness of lapses in the quality of healthcare, including medical errors. As more new therapies reach clinical application, the expectations on the part of the public are unlikely to lessen, and yet the ability to assure patients that the benefits of these therapies are known, and that they are without serious side-effects or untoward consequences, eludes the healthcare system. Based on initial experience with a new federal program, the Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs), we propose a national approach to therapeutics education and research, through a public-private partnership that involves academic medical centers, the federal government, industry, and the public. Through a concerted approach, we believe that significant gaps in our understanding of key issues in therapeutics and our ability to educate practitioners, policy makers, and consumers can be significantly enhanced in a manner that could not be achieved without a coordinated approach.
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