The effectiveness of new medicines compared with that of older drugs has fallen since the 1970s, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs that analyzed data from 315 placebo-controlled trials published since 1966. The analysis could be bad news for branded drugs if comparative-effectiveness studies conducted under the Affordable Care Act reach similar conclusions, but this article also cites recent advances in the development of leukemia drugs and antivirals, for example. "We believe that a lot continues to be accomplished in terms of yielding very, very positive results for patients, so there seems to be a disconnect between that and this paper," said Randy Burkholder, PhRMA's deputy vice president of policy.

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