Great variation exists in the health care delivery systems throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In general, medical technology is concentrated in large cities at private hospitals that serve a small, elite segment of the population. What is missing in most of these countries is a clearly defined social policy guaranteeing distribution of medical technology to all segments of society. While data is scarce, it appears that political and economic concerns, rather than medical concerns, determine what and how much technology will be available to all segments of the society. Products are sometimes imported that compete with domestically produced ones. Moreover, transfers of technology often fail to include the necessary knowledge to make imported technology truly useful. However, current economic crises throughout the region are forcing changes in policies; as a result, there is a new emphasis on domestic production of technology over imports and the evaluation of medical technology for its appropriate use in Latin America and the Caribbean.