This study provides a sociological commentary on the current debates within health technology assessment (HTA), specifically in response to the approaches taken in France, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It argues that HTA is part of a wider reflexive innovation system that seeks to order current and prospective technologies. The study discusses the socio-political process of HTA priority setting, the rhetorical role of HTA, the localised and contingent use of HTA, and the policy gap between guidelines and practice. It argues for the development of new types of methodologies for assessment and for a stronger social embedding of HTA practice
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