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Badly flawed evaluation



Published: Tue, January 4, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Orlando Sentinel: Any fair-minded person who has training in science, statistics or logic can see right through the Bush administration's negative report on prescription drug imports. It's a political put-up job.

Unfortunately, sophisticated data analysis is not a skill possessed by many Americans, including members of Congress. That, plus releasing the report during the holidays, meant few academics were around to read it.

Actually, the conclusions could have been written 10 months ago, considering the membership of the Drug Importation Task Force.

More than half are political appointees of the Bush administration, which got millions in industry campaign contributions. Serious studies are conducted by independent panels.

The conclusions: It would cost too much to set up a safe system to import drugs. Doing so would save little money. And it would imperil funds needed for research.

Larded with bias

While the report appears scientific, it's larded with bias in the data gathering and its assumptions.

Task-force hearings screened out health economists who had evidence that supported importation.

And the authors propped their data on biased assumptions.

Until an independent analysis of this report can be performed, Congress should treat it with the respect it deserves -- none.




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