I have worked in health technology assessment (HTA) since 1975, beginning in the United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), where we were charged with defining “medical technology assessment”. My main concern in HTA has always been efficacy of healthcare interventions. After years in OTA, I was invited to the Netherlands in 1985, where the Dutch government invited me to head a special commission concerning future healthcare technology and HTA. From there, I became involved in over forty countries, beginning in Europe and then throughout the world. My most intense involvements, outside the United States and Europe, have been in Brazil, China, and Malaysia. During these 40-plus years, I have seen HTA grow from its earliest beginnings to a worldwide force for better health care for everyone. I have also had some growing concerns, outlined in this Perspective article. Within HTA, I am most disappointed by a narrow perspective of cost-effective analysis, which tends to ignore considerations of culture, society, ethics, and organizational and legal issues. In the general environment affecting HTA and health care, I am most concerned about the need to protect the independence of HTA activities from influences of the healthcare industries.
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