Why is it difficult to integrate ethics in HTA?. The epistemological viewpoint

Pietro Refolo, Dario Sacchini, Antonio Gioacchino Spagnolo, L Brereton, A Gerhardus, B Hofmann, Kb Lysdahl, K Mozygemba, W Oortwijn, M Tummers, Der Wilt Gj Van, P Wahlster, On Behalf Of The Integrate Hta Project Team

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Ethics has been identified as a key element in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) since its conception. However, ethical issues are still not frequently addressed explicitly in HTA. Several valuable reasons have been identified. The basis of the article is the claim that ethics is often not part of HTA for “epistemological reasons”. Hence, the main aim of the contribution is to explore in more details and emphasize them by using the fact/value dichotomy. Our conclusion is that current HTA configuration is dominantly based on the comparison among objective and empirically testable “facts”, whilst ethics is not empirically testable. In this sense, there is a sort of “epistemological gap”, which can explain why it is so difficult to integrate ethics in HTA. We suggest that the epistemological differences among the various domains of HTA are addressed more explicitly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHTAi 2016 Annual meeting. Tokyo, Japan (May 10-14, 2016) Informing Health Care Decisions with Values and Evidence
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventHTAi 2016 Annual meeting - Tokyo; Japan
Duration: 10 May 201614 May 2016


ConferenceHTAi 2016 Annual meeting
CityTokyo; Japan


  • HTA


Dive into the research topics of 'Why is it difficult to integrate ethics in HTA?. The epistemological viewpoint'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this