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Medicine Worth Paying For

Medicine Worth Paying For

Assessing Medical Innovations

Edited by Howard S. Frazier and Frederick Mosteller

ISBN 9780674563629

Publication date: 08/18/1998

How is medicine doing at the end of the twentieth century? While there has been no end of studies of our health care system and proposals for changing it, there have been few credible studies of the risks and benefits of widely used medical treatments. We simply do not always know whether one treatment is better than another or whether a particular drug is worth the price.

Medical technology assessment is the discipline that studies what does and does not work in medicine. Howard Frazier and Frederick Mosteller are leading figures in this field. In Medicine Worth Paying For they attempt something completely new: to distill the methods and knowledge base of their highly specialized discipline into a text that is accessible—and therefore of great value—to a nontechnical audience.

This book calls attention to the importance of technology assessment in medicine—the rigorous evaluation of the effects of medical treatments—with particular reference to medical innovations. Also, making use of a series of carefully selected cases, the authors identify important policy implications that can be drawn from the study of successful medical innovations. These case studies of medical successes are a rich source of examples of the effects, good and bad, of the application of technology to health care and of attempts to influence the diffusion of technologies in health care.

Medicine Worth Paying For should be of interest to a variety of readers, particularly those concerned with health policy, investigators studying health services, those in the health professions, nonprofessionals who wish to maintain and improve the performance of the health care system, and others who simply want a system that provides benefits greater than risks at an acceptable financial cost.


  • In Medicine Worth Paying For, the editors…begin by asking ‘How is medicine doing?’ Many of the 14 case studies included suggest a qualified positive assessment… This book is far more than a round of applause for medical advances that have been proven to yield health benefits. The editors criticize the methods by which medical interventions are studied, or, not studied… The editors…[have] distinguished backgrounds in technology assessment…[and] the text itself is highly readable, and sufficiently accessible so that lay readers will find it readily comprehensible.

    —Thomas H. Lee, Nature Medicine


  • Howard S. Frazier was Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.
  • C. Frederick Mosteller was Roger I. Lee Professor of Mathematical Statistics, Emeritus, at Harvard University and Director of the Technology Assessment Group in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Book Details

  • 336 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press