Health Care Analysis

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 115–129 | Cite as

Shaping Biomedical Research Priorities: The Case of the National Institutes of Health

  • Daniel Callahan


Despite the international interest in priority setting as an important tool for health policy, there has been comparatively little interest in the setting of research priorities. One of the few places where there has been such an interest is at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. Under pressure from Congress to explain its priority setting process, the NIH has tried to explain the criteria and process it uses. The NIH procedure is described, and the problems created by the criteria it uses are analyzed. Although it uses the language of priority setting, it is uncertain whether it does have a real method of setting priorities. Nonetheless, despite the lack of a method, the results of its work are lauded. In the long run, however, NIH will need a more rigorous method of setting priorities.

methodology NIH politics priorities rationality 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Callahan
    • 1
  1. 1.The Hastings CenterGarrisonUSA

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