This paper capitalizes on a first set of experiences on the application of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) in seven low- and middle-income settings. It thereby reacts to a recent paper by Peacock et al., highlighting the potential of MCDA to guide policy makers in highly specific decision-making contexts. We argue that MCDA also has a broader application in setting priorities in health, i.e. to indicate general perceptions on priorities without defining the allocation of resources in a precise fashion. This use of MCDA can have far-reaching and constructive influences on policy formulation.