How Should Values Count in the Allocation of New Technologies in Health Care?

  • Arthur L. Caplan
Part of the The Hastings Center Series in Ethics book series (HCSE)


A few years ago Dr. Howard Hiatt, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote a provocative article entitled “Protecting the Medical Commons: Who Is Responsible?”1 Dr. Hiatt noted that as the costs of medical therapy—in terms of time, money and manpower—continue to rise, physicians, health planners, policy analysts, and the general public are faced with a terrible dilemma: how should the finite resources available for health care in American society be allocated? Dr. Hiatt argued that the medical profession must take the responsibility for evaluating expensive new medical technologies and techniques prior to their being made generally available to consumers. His view is that the medical profession should be able to regulate the supply of medical services and technologies as a means of controlling the rapidly rising costs of health care. The numerous cases of expensive, ineffective, and ineffectual therapies scattered throughout the history of medical care provide solid empirical grounds for the policy Hiatt suggested.


Chronic Renal Failure Technology Assessment Medical Technology Chronic Dialysis Health Care Supply 
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Copyright information

© The Hastings Center 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur L. Caplan
    • 1
  1. 1.Associate for the Humanities, The Hastings CenterInstitute of Society, Ethics and the Life SciencesHastings-on-HudsonUSA

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