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Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res. 2014 Apr;14(2):203-20. doi: 10.1586/14737167.2014.894464.

Methodological guidance documents for evaluation of ethical considerations in health technology assessment: a systematic review.

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Programs for Assessment of Technology in Health (PATH) Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.


Despite the advances made in the development of ethical frameworks for health technology assessment (HTA), there is no clear agreement on the scope and details of a practical approach to address ethical aspects in HTA. This systematic review aimed to identify existing guidance documents for incorporation of ethics in HTA to provide an overview of their methodological features. The review identified 43 conceptual frameworks or practical guidelines, varying in their philosophical approach, structure, and comprehensiveness. They were designed for different purposes throughout the HTA process, ranging from helping HTA-producers in identification, appraisal and analysis of ethical data to supporting decision-makers in making value-sensitive decisions. They frequently promoted using analytical methods that combined normative reflection with participatory approaches. The choice of a method for collection and analysis of ethical data seems to depend on the context in which technology is being assessed, the purpose of analysis, and availability of required resources.

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