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Scott Duke Kominers

Markets Can Improve Rationing of Medical Supplies

We have to make better use of what we have.

There might be a better way

There might be a better way

Photographer: Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images Europe

Countries around the world have been scrambling to scale up production of essential medical supplies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Even so, hospitals have been running out of critical-care facilities and equipment -- and that’s forcing them to make tough decisions as doctors prioritize whom to treat.

These aren’t fun questions to think about. But they’re quickly becoming part of our reality. Doctors in Italy issued guidance last month for how to triage patients. And teams of U.S. medical ethicists recently published their recommendations in the New England Journal of Medicine.