Objectives: This study examines the content and role of ethical analysis in health technology assessment (HTA) and horizon scanning publications. It proposes that ethical analysis in HTA is of at least two different types: an ethics of HTA and an ethics in HTA.
Methods: I examine the critical differences between these approaches through the examples of the analysis of genetic screening for breast cancer and home blood glucose testing in diabetes. I then argue that, although both approaches subscribe to similar views concerning HTA and ethics, they use different theoretical and methodological traditions to interpret and explain them.
Results and Conclusions: I conclude by suggesting that we need the interpretive insights of both these approaches, taken together, to explain why ethics has not been able yet to contribute fully to HTA and to demonstrate the scope and complexity of ethical work in this domain.